Tulika fan Chandrima Pal helped put together an informal reading and illustration workshop with Tulika authors Sowmya Rajendran and Niveditha Subramanian. And wrote in to tell us all about it...
I have been following Tulika website almost for 4 years now, in search of contemporary India-centric childrens books. First, to showcase India for my daughter who was living outside India then, and now I keep buying Tulika books to help my daughter to learn Hindi (second language at school) and Bengali (her mother tongue). Tulika has come up as a fresh breeze in the world of Indian children literature where mythological stories and stories with moral were the norm. They are nice, but why not give the small kids little more real world to dwell in, specially when they do have so many stories hidden in their daily lives.
So it was almost a dream come true, when Sowmya (Writes for Tulika and is luckily our neighbour too) told me that Tulika would be happy to have a book reading and illustration session (by Niveditha) at our place.
Our neighbourhood consists of almost 15 kids and almost all are vivid readers and interested in drawing, also the session was planned for a Sunday morning so we were expecting that all of the kids and some parents would come for the session. My daughter did lots of advertisement by repeatedly telling her friends about the session. I did my bit by inviting some relatives and friends outside from our neighbourhood.
We woke up early in the Sunday morning; we got ready for the day. Sowmya and Niveditha came with lots of Tulika books to showcase. The children and their parents were also arriving one by one. Around 11 o’clock the session started.
In the beginning each of the children introduced the child sitting near to them. It was a good start.
First storybook was School is Cool. Sowmya did a great job. I was observing the patience and spontaneity with which both authors were managing the active kids. The children were asked whether they like or not like to go to school. Children (actually all of us) were asked to draw anything that comes to our mind when we think of our school. Almost all kids and some parents drew something about the school. A nice variety of pictures came up.
Next was the famous story of Musical Donkey, this was told by Niveditha. Again Niveditha was a very good storyteller and we loved her expressions. The story developed by Tulika ends in a different way than children have heard them before. So it took a while for them to accept the story. Also they were asked to give a new ending to the story. Children used their fantasy and one child even managed to give a sci-fi end by kicking the donkey into space!
A small illustration session followed the story. Niveditha showed the kids to draw a monster and kids enjoyed drawing it. We parents loved to see the kids giggling and enjoying the session. I hope Tulika will keep doing such cosy, informal book reading sessions in future too.
- Chandrima Pal