Driven with a purpose to ensure every child experiences the joys of reading and reading good children’s books, BLBA serves as a platform connecting young readers, parents, schools and publishers with talented authors and illustrators.
This year marked the sixth edition of the BLBA and received 490 entries during the nomination period from May to June 2021. Malayalam was the chosen language this year for the author category, while the illustration category accepted nominations in any language. Winners were selected for their contribution to Indian children’s literature with stories that talk to young readers about who they are and help them navigate a multicultural and multilingual environment.
Winner from the author category, Prof S Sivadas, based out of Kottayam, has over two hundred books to his name. Inspired by his childhood memories, love for nature and deep commitment to science, his work has stood out significantly in the children’s literature canon in Malayalam.
Sivadas said, “I am very happy to receive the Big Little Book Award by the Parag Initiative of Tata Trusts. I value the tradition of Tata Group and the wonderful work done by Parag and so feel proud to be associated with it, in this way. This I believe, is a new beginning in my career as a children’s writer and communicator.”
Mumbai-born artist Deepa Balsavar, winner in the illustrator category, grew up loving animals and books and drawing. She wanted to become a vet but went to art college instead. She decided that if she couldn’t treat animals, she would write and draw stories about them, and about people and the world.
Balsavar said, “To make books for children is both a privilege and a huge responsibility. This award gives me courage and hope to continue doing what I do. When we get children to read and think, we give them the tools to take charge of their lives and change their worlds.”
Amrita Patwardhan, head, education, Tata Trusts, said, “Original, engaging, quality children’s literature in Indian languages is critical for developing a reading culture and meeting educational goals. The 6th edition of Big Little Book Award for authors and illustrators is our way to celebrate outstanding contribution by committed artists who have made a difference to this important sector. We congratulations the winners and look forward to wider dissemination of their work.”