Swati Roy, a graduate in chemistry with a management degree, set up Eureka! a children’s bookstore, along with her colleague Venkatesh in 2003 after saving money from her salary for over 12 years. When she started Eureka, she had only one vision - to give children a space they can call their own while reading and having fun with everything around books. The logical extension of this endeavour was to create a literature festival exclusively for children. This happened in 2008 with the first edition of Bookaroo in Delhi. Now after 16 years in the business, 13 cities and 33 Bookaroos later, she feels that though this is one of the most challenging jobs she has handled she would not want to be anywhere else. That the dream of creating a space for children could expand to include so many children has been an incredible experience. The quest continues. To see more and more children enjoy reading and parents feeling reassured with the concept of reading for pleasure. Creating opportunities for children to enjoy reading gives her along with scores of adults that Bookaroo reaches a chance to relive their childhood.
Haunting the library and reading books were a passion with Venkatesh ever since early school. Food would often take a backseat as lunch and dinner time were had with a book in one hand. It led to many arguments at home and elsewhere. But the habit lingered. Back in 2003, Venkatesh started Eureka, a children’s bookstore, in Delhi with Swati. Gradually, the concept became very popular and the bookstore turned smaller to hold larger crowd of booklovers. Five years later, following the popularity of the bookstore, the duo decided to expand it further. In 2008, came India’s first children’s literature festival Bookaroo. The aim is to bring books, children, writers, and everyone who loves books together to celebrate the joy of reading. Ten years, 13 cities and 33 editions down the line, Bookaroo seems on track to achieve what it set out to.
With a Master’s in History. Sunanda has been associated with non-governmental organizations for the in education of children with various disabilities. At present, her main focus is spearheading a Learning Resource Centre (LRC) in Delhi Public School Srinagar. The LRC has already got a state-of-the-art building with approximately 170 students with various disabilities like autism, learning disabilities, Down Syndrome and visually impairment. The first-of-its-kind centre is conscious and successful in integrating the students with the regular school. Sunanda Dhar distributes her time between her home in Delhi and her ongoing projects in Srinagar. The very little free time she has is spent on her two great passions: reading and gardening.
Poonji Nath has done her schooling from Delhi’s Springdales School and graduated in Sociology (Hons) from Shri Venkateshwara College. She followed it up with an law degree from the Campus Law Center, Delhi University. She practiced as a lawyer for three years before giving it up for books and art. While working at Full Circle Bookstore and then with the Vadehra Art Gallery her focus was on taking short courses in publishing and art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York and New York University. She firmly believes in empowering people with education. At the root of all success - mental or physical - is the awareness and knowledge of the Self and the environment. Educating children also entails firing up their imagination and Poonji is committed to this cause. Children’s books, with engaging writing and illustrations, have a far greater reach and impact upon its targeted audience. She wants to do her bit in spreading the multiple benefits of education for children so as to enhance their lives.