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.
17th November turned out to be the day I would get to meet two people I knew from last year's Bookaroo - one was the lovely volunteer Iswarya Subbiah and the other person was the storyteller Valentina Trivedi. This was the third year that Iswarya has volunteered for Bookaroo in the City and it was great to hear her perspective on how this event is growing (you know that we are reaching almost 100 schools this year?).
We reached Valentina's house a little early. In the middle of our chatting, Iswarya decided to call Valentina to let her know that we had arrived. Her phone was engaged. Iswarya tried again. Soon, we were calling her frantically and hoping that she hadn't forgotten about the session. Suddenly, there was a response and Valentina reached the car in a jiffy. It was nice to know that Valentina remembered the paper cherry blossoms we made for her session at last year's Bookaroo.
We were heading to the Asharan Orphanage (run by Hope Foundation) in Multan Nagar. The long drive to the orphanage gave us ample time to learn about how Valentina had become a storyteller. We also learnt what she was planning to do for this year's main Bookaroo event (No, we won't tell you in this post. You will have to come to Bookaroo to find out!).
Time flew as the three of us talked about varied topics. Finally, we were at the orphanage and waiting for the kids to arrive. A few kids walked in and Valentina immediately started talking to them. Children of different age groups seated themselves on the mat placed on the ground and waited in anticipation for the event to start. The kids started getting restless as we waited for more kids to arrive. But, as soon as Valentina started her session, the room went quiet. The children stared with eager eyes. A few of the children had cognitive disabilities but were able to follow Valentina's lively performance.
During her performance, we could hear a small voice saying something. Whose voice was this? As the children looked in the direction of the voice, a puppet entered the scene. The children were so excited on seeing the puppet. Soon, the puppet was shaking hands with all of them and was even named by them. After some time another puppet entered the scene. A scary looking mouse! Scary because it looked so real. The children laughed as one of the boys tugged on the rat's tail.
Valentina's performance was so spontaneous - she would add elements that the children wanted to add and make it their story. While telling a story which involved a magic pot that threw out things one wished for, the children named toys (even beyblades!), food and other things. A sad (but true) reminder of their reality was when a child said she wanted the magic pot to give her a mummy and a papa!
Looking at the children's faces at the end of the session, one knew that Valentina had cast her magical spell and taken them to a different world in the one hour that she had spent there.
You can read about all the Bookaroo in the City sessions here. You can also view more pictures here.