Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bookaroo in the City (Day 8) : Inventing Mysterious Beasts

The last day of 'Bookaroo in the City' ensured that the Pratham Books team was having a busy time. With 5 events happening simultaneously, we were all covering different events and also thinking about the main Bookaroo event and all the things connected to it.

I happened to catch the book reading and activity session conducted by author Lian Tanner at The Sri Ram School (A big thank you to Hachette for collaborating with us for this BIC event). A brief reading from her book 'Museum of Thieves' introduced her young audience to the mysterious beasts in her book. Huge and interesting cut-outs of children, two beasts and photographs flanked Lian on either side and enabled her to tell the children a little about herself, Tasmania (the place she comes from) and about her book. The kids smiled as she told them that they were the first Indian children she was meeting in her life and she wondered how they were different from Tasmanian children. Like all the previous events we've attended, hands went up and children almost jumped with excitement to share their answers.

Lian then went on to tell the children how she creates names for these mysterious creatures that feature in her book. As she started giving examples, the children pitched in with their examples and soon the blackboard was filled with many potential names. The children were then encouraged to create a character on their own and draw this creature. Apart from giving their mysterious creature a name, Lian urged then to think a little more about what the creature did, where it lived, what it ate, what special powers it had and so on. The kids found themselves comfortable spots to sit in and were soon engrossed in creating mystical and mysterious beasts. Kids ran in and out of the room and fetched colours to decorate their creatures. Some kids sat in silence and thought hard before they began drawing. Some kids sharpened pencils, some furiously erased what they thought were disfigured beasts, some frowned, some smiled with glee and some went around looking for the perfect crayon to colour their beast with. Lian walked amidst the children, chatting with them and finding out more about their creations. If one kid was creating an 'eager' (an eagle-tiger), another was creating a slimeslug. I even spotted a 'bookmonk' (a book monkey) who eats books.

Soon, the mysterious beasts were ready and handed over to Lian who would then choose the best ones and the kids would then receive a gift hamper of books on a later date. As the kids were ushered out of the room, they mobbed Lian to get her autograph. Lian patiently signed every card that was given to her and then stayed back to be interviewed by the school magazine's editorial team.

If you created a mysterious creature, what would it look like?

View pictures from all the Bookaroo events here.

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