Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Anecdotes from the NPS Bookfair

Pratham Books was part of the book fair organized by National Public School (Bangalore) from 23rd-25th July, 2009. Like always, we were ready to spread the joy of reading amongst kids. Unlike some of the corporate fairs we participate in, this time was different as it gave us an opportunity to interact with the kids.

The fair kicked off with a batch of students who trooped into the venue armed with their pencils and pens. The younger students were just going to identify the books they wanted, jot the names down on a paper and then get their parents to the fair later in the evening or on the following days. While one girl exclaimed that our book prices were really low, her classmate declared that she was going to buy ALL the books. With pencils scribbling on white pieces of paper and promises to come back with their parents, the kids went back to school. But, this routine had just about begun.

One of the best moments had to be when an entire class lined up around our tables and wanted to read the books. We would hold up a few books and say 'Who wants to read this?' and everyone would eagerly jump and raise their hand and say 'Me..me'. After they finished reading it, they would ask for more books. While some sauntered off to see the books on offer at the next stall, many stayed back. We gave them some chairs and suddenly our stall had turned into a reading corner. They shared their chairs with each other in order to let the other kids read comfortably too. While one of the younger kids asked me how to pronounce 'Sringeri Srinivas' (a character from one of our books), another made a specific request for a book on India. The girl returned a day later with her mother and said - 'Ma, I want a book on India from this stall'.
Jyothi, the PT teacher, has to be our favourite teacher from NPS for patiently browsing through all our books and carefully selecting a big pile of books to take back for her own kids. She even back the same day and bought some more books. Yayyy Jyothi! We hope your kids loved the gifts you brought for them last Thursday.

We met many kids who came to our stall and said 'Can you please suggest a book for a 5 year old? I want to buy a book for my brother/sister.' Isn't that sweet? And none of these kids made an impulsive purchase. They carefully browsed through the books we recommended and then chose what they thought was the best for their sibling.

Two girls came and picked up one of our books from the American folktale series. One girl sat at our stall and read it while her friend strolled through the other stall. When she finished reading, she gave her seal of approval to the book and her friend bought the book.
Other than the children, we met several parents who gave us valuable insights about our books. While some loved that our books were cheap, others bought many Hindi books as they are tough to find in regular bookstores. A person who bought several Bengali books at our previous fair came up to us and said that his son liked the books and went on to buy many Hindi books from us this time around. Some parents who visited us the previous day came back to buy more books...Overall, the fair was a success and many kids got books over the weekend.

View more pictures from the book fair.

Psst: Thanks to the folks at Scholastic for giving us a few chairs on Day 1 when ours hadn't arrived.

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