Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bookaroo in the City (Day 6) : Indu Harikumar

Have you ever fallen into the pages of a book and fallen off your chair laughing? Have you ever smelled the earth as you see the picture of rain falling on parched mud? Pratham Books brings you such magic in your world with books! Pratham Books is proud to present "Bookaroo in the City" across several schools in Delhi.

As soon as I reached Delhi, I knew that I would be attending Indu Harikumar's session. Having conducted a storytelling session with Indu earlier this year, I knew that we were going to have a great session. While we drove around in circles and tried to locate the Deepalaya school in Okhla, I finally got to see Indu's first book - "How do we weigh Appukuttan?". We finally reached the school and were greeted very warmly by the school staff. They were surprised to see Indu as they had assumed that the author and storyteller was an older person. 

Children from different grades streamed into the vast open space delegated for the storytelling session. Indu started the session by reading from her own book. The kids jumped in to guess the identity of the person (in this case - an animal) being described. They scrambled a little closer to take a look at the illustrations and were delighted to learn how an elephant was weighed. I know that one of Indu's favourite books published by us is 'Annual Haircut Day'. She chose to read from this book and had the kids giggling by the end of the story. This story has always been a hit with kids.


When the kids were asked if they knew any stories and wanted to share them with their classmates, several kids volunteered. We heard story after story (some kids even wanted to tell more than one story!). Inspired by all these stories, the Bookaroo volunteer Shashank also decided to tell the kids a story. He remixed the 'Lenny and Tweek' story he had heard at an earlier session and talked to the kids about friendship. 


Soon, we jumped from stories to singing. Indu flipped pages and showed them the gorgeous illustrations from the book 'Geet ka Kamal' (published by Eklavya). The story about a man who was searching for a song had all the kids reciting lines after Indu. With the help of a young child who was reading with Indu, the students were soon singing a funny song. One could see other kids peep out of their own classrooms with curiosity. 

After this session, we left for the session at Deepalaya school in Sheikh Sarai. This school was also hard to locate. Nevertheless, we reached way before time and surprised the staff. We waited in the car for a while before we were led to the entrance of the school and were pleasantly greeted by girls who sang a welcome song for us. 

Soon, we were in a class full of 6th and 7th graders. The kids were older than the kids at the previous session. We wondered if the stories would be too simple for them. But, that was certainly not the case. If you have a good storyteller, even a simple story transforms into a magical one. The children didn't hesitate in guessing the endings of the stories. The kids were asked to share stories again and we found a few brilliant storytellers among this group too. 


The volunteer Shashank stepped up to share a story too but then decided to get the kids to create a story themselves. With cues from the children, the framework of the story had been set. There would be two friends. The story would include elements of friendship, toys, games, fights, love and Facebook! Yes, Facebook too!  With each sentence provided by the kids, Shashank weaved a story in a few minutes.


Pallavi from Teamworks and Poulomi from Essar Foundation also joined this session and were equally entertained by stories told by Indu and Shashank and the wit of the children.

It was interesting to see how these sessions had different types of storytellers - the main storyteller and the inspired storytellers! 

You can also read Pallavi's account of this session here.

You can read about all the Bookaroo in the City sessions here. You can also view more pictures here.

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