What I’ve learnt in 50 readings

What I’ve learnt in 50 readings

I conducted my 50th book reading, yesterday!  I can still recall, rather vividly, the sheer terror that threatened to overtake me at the launch reading of Icky, Yucky, Mucky! at the Kala Ghodha Arts Festival in 2011. The moment when the tremor in my voice stopped and I was enjoying being Maharaja Icky, juggling rosogullas. Since then, I’ve published eight books across different age and genre and tailored readings to suit different groups. It has been a tremendous learning experience and even though I still get collywobbles the night before, the moment I am in front of a group of kids, everything else falls away away and I’m there to have fun.  So what have 50 readings helped me learn? School readings work differently from readings at festivals and in bookstores. In schools you read to a group that is homogenous in age, in a controlled environment conducive to a reading and where the children are in their comfort zones. At festivals and in bookstores, you have to account for a varied age group, a kid crying for his mother, late arrivals, kids kicking each other and higher ambient sound. Hence, they need to be planned differently. For readings at festivals and bookstores, I simplify, plan for it to work across a broader range of ages and work in shorter activities that I can pick from, during the reading. Unless you have an assistant, plan something you can manage yourself. However, don’t hesitate to ask for help from teachers and parents in distributing activity sheets, pencils, wobbly eyes and such. Have a backup for everything, even when you have asked for it –...

My woofs, burps and kukaroo-kuroos at Bookaroo

What a delightful and satisfying weekend this was! Bookaroo in Pune had the venue Sambhaji Park packed to capacity, hordes of excited children and lots and lots of storytelling. My session, Jive to the Rooster Raga had delightful moments with the children joining in and dancing with me to the rooster raga. The session on Bonkers had a 200 strong crowd go bonkers as we talked about dogs and madcap adventures, both real and imaginary. We then drew our very own Bonkers dog and after a bit of a debate on whether to give my dog spots, we decided to give him a nice dose of patches. Donning my moustache and turban for Icky, Yucky, Mucky (it was too hot for the robe!) enables me to be that extra bit messy. Burps, slurps and nibbles come to the fore with extra panache once that fuzzy growth appears on my upper lip! We had a riot of splotch monsters come to life at the end of the session with each child creating their own to take home. For art activities around Icky, Yucky, Mucky! do look into the art and teacher kits for the book. A wonderful weekend and I hope that Bookaroo is back in Pune next year. Now, onward to the exciting Junior Writers Bug festival in Mumbai next weekend. Do join me for sessions around Bonkers and Rooster Raga. For session timings and venue click here. Share...

My experience at Bookaroo in the city

This was my first time with Bookaroo in the city, and as all new things go, it was exciting to say the least. With a rushed three days in Delhi, my mornings began with readings from my recently released book, Bonkers! (Duckbill books). I read to groups as large as 150 students at the Kendriya Vidyala at Tagore Garden and the Andhra Education Society school. I was delighted to see the open-mouthed expressions on the children’s faces when I related childhood escapades with my dogs. The children joined in with all their enthusiasm as they counted the number of animals versus people in my childhood home (it was something like 39 versus 6 at one point!) and the number of ‘TANGS’ the doggie bowl hurled down sounded out. After real and fictional episodes, I led the children through a step-by-step demonstration of drawing their own Bonkers! Excited comments, questions and ‘see mine, see mine!’ peppered this bit. We had many adorable Bonkers coming to life in their notepads. Kudos to the Bookaroo team. Things moved like clock work. Thank you to the teachers and students for letting me be a part of their day so warmly. To a great Bookaroo ahead! Click here to know more about the upcoming Bookaroo in Delhi (November 23-24) and Bookaroo in Pune (November 30-December 1).  Preferences Preferences Preferences Preferences Preferences Preferences Preferences § 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 – = Backspace Tab q w e r t y u i o p [ ] Return capslock a s d f g h j k l ; ‘ shift...

How does a book come about?

Spent a lovely morning jumping around with a bunch of enthusiastic children at the Cathedral Infant school in Mumbai, last friday. After the readings of Icky, Yucky, Mucky and Kaka and Munni, we had a question session. “Is Maharaja Icky real?”, “How did you think up the characters?” and more such came up. In addition, there were a number of children fascinated by how a book comes about. It is a question, I have found, that often puzzles children. So how do the characters and ideas grow into stories? How do the pictures come onto the page? Who combines everything? How and where is it printed? How do the pages come together in a book? It’s a fascinating journey and many children are often intrigued by the physical production of a book.  I thought it best to share a few links that my children have enjoyed to understand the process. The first one is a short clip and shows the traditional method of printing. Lovely video called the Birth of a Book. Here it is: Birth of a book  The second link follows the whole process in multiple videos from idea to book. It is a longer watch but explains everything beautifully. The video clips 4, 5 and 6 show the actual coming together of pictures and words, printing and binding. How a book is made I hope this helps answer some of those questions Preferences Share...