Sessions with authors, workshops, even games: the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival’s children’s literature section has lots for book-loving kids
Track the mystery to Holmes’s missing magnifying glass or chase to save the last dodo? Gallop across the Uzbek mountains or swim in the mangroves of the Sundarbans? What do you want to do? Where would you like to be? The children’s literature segment at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF) spoils your little one for choice. There are over 30 sessions with 25 authors, three international artists, two competitions (a save the tiger poster with Sanctuary Magazine and a Horrid High Back to School obstacle race with author Payal Kapadia), all spread over the course of the week.
Lubaina Bandukwala, who has been tending the children’s literature section at KGAF, said that they have three kinds of events at this year: author-driven book sessions; workshops for adults interested in children’s literature; and a Kala Ghoda Goes to School programme. This year, for instance, she has sessions dedicated to picture books, chapter books, non-fiction, mythology and even mysteries “Just like in clothes one size doesn’t fit all,” she says, “in books too, different kinds of books appeal to different kinds of children. We’d like this to be the place that every child finds their book.”
Here are a few sessions that are sure to create a song for the little person’s book-loving soul. All these are at Kitab Khana, the bookstore at Hutatma Chowk, except the Horrid High event, which is at Horniman Circle.
• Animation 101: Torril Kove is a Norwegian-born Canadian film director and animator. She won an Academy award for her short animation film The Danish Poet . She has also illustrated numerous books for children. She will show children how to create an animated tale. 5pm-6.30pm, 6 February. Ages 9+
• The Boy Who Swallowed a Nail: Journalist and blogger Lalita Iyer’s new book, The Boy Who Swallowed a Nail and other stories , includes adventures of her father and other members of the family, told in a style reminiscent of Malgudi Days . Iyer will read and engage with young bibliophiles.4pm-5pm, Kitab Khana. 6 February. Ages 9+
• Saving the Very Last Dodo: Venita Coelho has written and directed television serials. She is also a painter and has written Dead as a Dodo , which recently won The Hindu Good Books award for best children’s fiction. The book tackles poaching and a wildlife traffickers’ attempt to catch the last dodo. Coelho will read and engage with little wannabe wildlife enthusiasts. 11.30am-12.30pm, 6 February. Ages 8+
Journalist and blogger Lalita Iyer will read and engage with young bibliophiles today.
• Friends of the Tiger: Set in the Sundarbans, Tiger Boy , by Mitali Bose Perkins, is about a young boy, Neel, and his search to find a Royal Bengal tiger cub that’s escaped from the nature reserve. Children’s writer and publisher Anushka Ravishankar and wildlife activist and editor of Sanctuary Magazine Bittu Sahgal, will chat about the book and then conduct a Save the Tiger poster competition. 10.30am-11.45pm, 7 February. Ages 8+
• Princess Easy Peasy: Childrens’ author Natasha Sharma will read and placate Princess Easy Peasy’s tantrums. There will be a live drum session with buckets as well as an on-the-spot drawing session with illustrator Priya Kurien. 4pm-5pm, Kitab Khana. 7 February. Ages 4-7.
• Fire your Mind with Science: Srijan Pal Singh co-wrote Reignited with India’s favourite scientist and the late president APJ Abdul Kalam. In this session, Singh will talk about the wonders of science and how it opens the mind and its importance in education. 5pm-6pm, 7 February. Ages 10+
• Why Draw When You Can Collage: Uruguay-born Israeli Artist Hanoch Piven is known for his caricatures and collages created using everyday objects, which have featured even on the cover of Timemagazine. He is a children’s author as well, and will conduct a session with kids on making collages, using anything objects that can be found everywhere. 5pm-6pm, 12 February. Ages 8+.
• World of Myths: British storyteller and performer Emily Hennessey has a master’s in drama, has studied at the Kattaikkuttu School of Theatre near Kanchipuram, and has learned the pandavanitradition from Chhattisgarh. In this session, she will draw stories from across the world: Nordic legends, fantastical tales from India, folk stories from Africa. 5.30pm-6.30pm, 13 February. Ages 5+
• The Horrid High Survivor Challenge: Payal Kapadia’s sequel to her immensely popular book Horrid High is Horrid High: Back to School . Moving beyond the regular sit-down reading session, Kapadia has crafted a series of 11 horrid hurdles for 8–12 teams. She promises oodles of sweaty fun at the very least. 11am-1pm, 14 February. Ages 9+
• The Boy Who Became King: Parvati Sharma’s The Story of Babur (with illustrations by Urmimala Nag) is about Babur, the first Mughal emperor in India. Sharma will talk about this mighty emperor, who spent his childhood in the Uzbek mountains, transporting young readers to a time centuries ago, meeting his family, the beautiful palaces and his travels and adventures. 11.30am-12.30pm, 14 February. Ages 7+
Full schedule at kalaghodaassociation.com
The writer is co-founder of Kahani Karnival, and curator of children’s content. She also partners at the Yellow Pinwheel Kids Project, which creates fun games and toys for little people.