A lion that speaks Punjabi, a bear that dreams of being the first bear on the moon, a rabbit that sings instead of becoming the mid-day meal for the lion -- all these animals came alive as author Paro Anand and about a hundred students of Chaitanya Vidyalaya had a, literally, roaring time. Paro, known for her work with children in conflict-zones, did the storytelling as part of the BLF-Pratham Books Outreach programme. Author of books like Bhabhloo Bear's Adventure, and No Guns at my Son's Funeral, Paro has a background in theatre, and also holds a world record for helping children make the World's Longest Newspaper!
"I want to be a writer!" said a Class 8 student, a first-generation school-goer. "I like ghost stories, do you have a book about ghosts?" asked a young boy, the first person to be able to read English in his family. "I want to climb trees like Bhabhloo!" said another student, in all probability the first girl in her family to go to middle school.
For these bright students, Paro's session was a peep into the exciting world of literature. Outreach programmes light up the minds of young children for whom storybooks and reading are not part of the natural environment at home. The school, tucked off the BIAL highway, in Palanahalli, is a well-lit place that is striving to do the best for its students, adding one class at a time as the oldest children graduate to the next one.
The Outreach programme continues, even as the Bangalore Literature Festival 2014 is all set for an inauguration tomorrow. Paro Anand is a speaker on the panel discussing 'Children and Young Adult Fiction' at the Bangalore Literature Festival at Crowne Plaza on September 28th.