We’ve had a slew of new in our fiction list, with the total now hitting half-century! It’s boom-time in general for children’s fiction and time too, we thought, to get some cosy, critical conversations going among those who read it. So here it is – the Tulika Book Club! Starting with eight-to twelve-year-olds, we hope to eventually have sessions for tinies, tweens and teens… to make their hearts beat for books. With readings, word games, language play and some writerly dabbling by the young ones themselves, the sessions will be facilitated by Tulika author and acclaimed writer Sandhya Rao. Here’s what’s on her mind.
1. Why do you think young readers need a Book Club?
For the same reason that adults want book clubs: to spend time talking about books and how much they love to read and what new books they've discovered, and what new ideas these books have thrown up, and to argue about their favourite books and characters and share with each other why they love books and reading so much. In the process, make those who are not such avid readers feel jealous of all the fun they're having and be tempted to read books themselves and give themselves a chance to fall in love with the different worlds that books create.
2. What approach will you take for the Book Club?
Open interactions, and gentle encouragement to read and discover for oneself. Together, discover how vast and interconnected the world of books is, and how closely intertwined with life.
3. How different is the Book Club from an activity centre?
Reading is not an activity, it's a way of life. So, we will either revel in this way of life or create pathways to it. Reading will be approached through reading, not any other activity. And sharing the passion. Here, everyone's the same, we all will learn about books and characters and worlds from each other. Reading happens everywhere, all the time: it doesn't require time and space, only a mindset. It exists in itself and for itself.
4. Is the book club for voracious readers or light readers?
The book club is for everybody. Different people read at different speeds and levels. All that it requires is the desire to read, a curiosity about books.
5. Will books from other publishers be covered in the Book Club?
Yes of course. Books know no barriers. A good book is a good book and it's wonderful that so many publishers all over the world are creating great books.
6. What preparation should parents do to send their children to the Tulika Book Club?
Just let their children read. Give them access to books. And maybe read books themselves, also the books their children recommend. Basically, chill. And if they're very keen, they're welcome to sit in on occasion.
7. Is there any preparation required for the children to do before they attend the Book Club?
Just be aware that this is about books and reading. So, yes, they should be ready to meet new books and authors and be willing to make time to read. So, it's a mindset thing. But, not to worry. No preparation is required. It's not a test or anything. It's a space to share.
The Tulika Book Club will meet twice a month, on Saturdays between 4 and 5.30 pm at the Tulika Bookstore, Alwarpet. Sign up now! Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.