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 –...

A day at the Junior Writers Bug festival

Put together a bunch of writers, illustrators, folk singers, storytellers, theatre people and more such. Plonk them in the middle of a nature park. Drive in hordes of excited kids and happy parents. Add in the lovely Kitab Khana bookstore. Tie it together with scrumptious food and kulfis of every imaginable flavour on site (the strawberry flavour was rather lipsmacking). And you are sure to have one fun festival. The Junior Writers Bug festival held this weekend at the Maharashtra Nature Park turned out to be one such delight. I spent my Sunday morning with a bunch of excited kids singing and dancing to the Rooster Raga. The song turned out a big hit here as well and we followed it up with colouring in some adorable rooster chicks. Some planned to turn them into greeting cards and others into stick puppets for a read along with the story. Here are a few taking shape… With my session on Bonkers! later in the evening, my 6 year old and I attended a session on Uttaranchal folk tales by Suresh Kala and Avinash Lamba. Even though we couldn’t understand all the words, one got a real feel of the mountains. And a sheepish grin as Suresh translated one of the folk tales being sung out – since it turned out to be a song being sung by a man to his fiancé. Ahem! The kids got into the groove with a beautiful song created for the event with a rather catchy refrain ‘bum chiki bum, chiki bum bum, bum chiki bum…’ Tanvi Bhat, one of the illustrators of the just-gone-to-press History Mystery...

Ruru’s Kukaroo-Kuroo at Bookaroo in Delhi and Pune

Ruru’s Kukaroo-kuroo at Bookaroo Delhi    Move over, lungi and singham dance, we say, because the simply spectacular Jeeva Aunty is here with a foot-tapping (soon to be chart topping) number with so much zing it’ll also make you sing! Jeeva Aunty will flag off andfinish the celebrations at Bookaroo, Delhi with Rooster Raga. When: Saturday, 23 November, 11 am Where:  The Stage, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) Ages: 4 – 40 When: Sunday, 24 November, 4 pm Where: The Stage, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) Ages: 4 – 40 A sneak peek below! [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rw6tOUYghj8&w=320&h=266] Pune welcomes Bookaroo (30 November – 1 December) Ruru Kukaroos On! Clap and tap along with writer Natasha Sharma and skip, stretch, stamp and roll with Ruru’s friends as they teach him to find his raga! When: Saturday, November 30, 12:30 -1:30 pm Where: The Palms, Shambaji Rao Park, JM Road, Pune Ages: 4 – 6 Share...

Yipee! Junior Writer’s Bug Literary Fest in Mumbai next weekend April 22nd…

Will be at the Junior Writer’s Bug Literary Festival to be held next weekend April 21st and 22nd in Mumbai. SO glad to see someone putting together a children’s lit festival here. I am conducting three sessions on Sunday, April 22nd 2012.  10am -11am: A first reading from my book Kaka and Munni (published by Pratham Books) followed by children making a collage. Ages 4-7 years 11:15am – 12:15pm: Time to create your own Rhyme and Rhythm. A workshop for children on writing poetry. Ages 7-10 years 12:30 – 1:30pm: Dramatised reading of Icky, Yucky, Mucky (published by Young Zubaan) accompanied by many a slurp and burp. Reading to be followed by children making their own monsters. Ages 4-7 years. Venue: St. Anthony’s Girls High School, Chembur. There is a lot more scheduled in the festival, from illustrations, story writing, script writing, puppetry and more. For more details on the event, the complete schedule and registration form (pre registration suggested since workshops have limited seats) visit the Writer’s bug website. Looking forward! Share...