Bringing children and books together

Back in 2008, when it was put together in a record time of three months by an assorted, slightly mad, bunch of book lovers , not many would have imagined that Bookaroo would become what it has. Today, the last weekend of November has become a must-visit entry in most diaries across the National Capital Region.

Bookaroo, simply put, celebrates children’s literature. And how! Attendance at the main festival grew from just 3,000 for the weekend in the first year to over 14,000 a day last year. The two-day festival became a three-day one, with a Schools’ Day, on which schoolchildren are invited to the main festival.

The other two days – open to all on Saturday and Sunday – are studded with close to 100 sessions and 80 speakers from all over India and seven other countries. Set in the spacious grounds of IGNCA (Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts), Bookaroo is a visual and sensory delight.

Our outreach programme, Bookaroo in the City, which visited eight schools in 2008, has grown phenomenally – we crossed the 100-school mark last year.

Along the way, we managed to travel and, since last year, have staged three very successful Bookaroos in Srinagar in association with DPS, Srinagar. In December 2013, Bookaroo made its debut in Pune. Sakal Times Bookaroo, as it is called, attracted over 8,000 excited children and parents in two days.

Our dream is to take the festival all over India, especially to those towns and cities that do not usually enjoy such cultural events.