Bookaroo, India’s biggest children’s literature festival returns to Delhi

On the last weekend of November, Bookaroo, India’s biggest children’s literature festival, will open its 12th edition in New Delhi, bringing celebrated authors, stories and books in all forms, shapes and sizes. The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) on Rajendra Prasad Road, the venue for Bookaroo 2019, will witness two days of non-stop fun and learning with books on 30November and 1 December 2019.

14 Nov 2019 | By Dibyajyoti Sarma

A session in progress during Bookaroo 2018

Organised by Delhi-based Bookaroo Trust, it is India’s first literature festival of its kind. The festival, which began in November 2008, as a solo edition in New Delhi, has since travelled to 15 cities across India and has completed 35 editions.

According to Venkatesh M, festival director, Bookaroo, “We are thankful to the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) for collaborating with Bookaroo in this project. One of the main objectives of IGNCA is to promote and popularise education among children through culture. It is their unstinting support to culture and children's literature that has given Bookaroo a permanent home in Delhi."

Swati Roy, festival director, Bookaroo adds, “It is heartening to see that our mission of bringing children and books together through an exclusive children’s literature festival is gaining ground. As a pioneer in the field it is really encouraging to see so many literature festivals, especially for children, being set up around the country. Despite the difficulties of finding funding, we have stayed true to our objective of being inclusive and kept the festival open to all where entry is free.”

During the two days, eighty-five speakers will be conducting more than 100 sessions on dramatized reading and storytelling; art and illustration workshops; craft; climate change and recycling; music; nature and wildlife; puppets; general knowledge; history; growing-up issues; travel and mythology among others.

Speakers at this year’s edition of Bookaroo come from eleven cities in India and eight countries, including Australia, France, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland and Sri Lanka.

This year, Bookaroo has re-introduced Schools' Day. A pre-registered event, it will be held on 29 November. Schools' Day will have several schools across Delhi and NCR bring their children to IGNCA to attend over 16 sessions by 17 speakers.

For the first time, this year will also see special sessions for parents, teachers and guardians touching upon a variety of subjects ranging from what children are scared of to how to decide what is a good book to stereotyping children and their behaviour to growing up issues.

There will be a tree walk between 9:30 am and 10:15 am on both days (Saturday and Sunday). Conducted by Kavita Prakash, children will be taken on a walk of IGNCA to identify the five trees. This is a pre-registered event.

Bookaroo Delhi 2019 will have many sessions based on music. Also on exhibit during the days of the festival will be a unique collection of rare and cool musical instruments from countries as far as Peru and Krygyztan! Children can rediscover the joy of music and the materials and the science and cultures behind the instruments.

Bookaroo’s mission is to bring back the wonder of imagination and make reading books fascinating in today’s world for children. The programme includes simultaneous sessions (in various sub-venues) based on dramatised reading and theatre, non-stop storytelling for younger children, craft activities, art and illustration workshops, and poetry sessions.