The universe is not made of atoms, its made of tiny stories. Primary school teachers Meghna Chawla and Roopali Paliwal seem to have realized this by touching as many children’s lives as possible with their newly established Booknook. It’s a nook where children imbibe a hobby of reading and looking beyond stories-a story behind a story; connecting these sessions with various activities which expand their little worlds.This interview emphasizes on creativity used as a tool to encourage balance between ourselves and the world around us from early stages of human life.
How did the Booknook come about?
Meghna: A year ago my husband and I were renovating our private Kaikan (Soka Gakkai Buddhism prayer hall) when a nook got created due to structural differences. I saw my dreams realizing as the corner seemed perfect to read a book with the kids. My picture book fascination surfaced with The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney, a Caldecott Award winner, which was life-transforming, as read by the librarian in Russia. Also a recent visit to the Underwater World in Singapore inspired me, where an old lady during a story session made a shark out of clothes pins.
What is the age group you are engaging with?
Roopali: As of now we are working with 4-8 yrs. old children, maybe later once it grows we would have more age groups.
How differently have you shared the books?
Roopali: Sometimes we take up an author or go by the story or choose according to an occasion like for instance we read How to make an Apple pie and see the World by Marjorie Priceman during Christmas time when a chef came in to teach the kids how to make an Apple pie. We also took them for a puppet show on Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens after reading its abridged version. Earlier in September we had done The man who walked between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein commemorating 9/11 twin tower terrorist attacks.
How has Booknook influenced the children’s way of thinking?
Meghna: The children enjoy listening to stories and with each activity they take back something with them always. When we did Barefoot Hussain byAnjali Raghbeer at the Crayon Capital a child went back home and talked about the horses he had seen in the paintings and very enthusiastically coloured the whole day. After a visit to Comicon (A comic book fair) an 8yr. old was keen to know how a comic is read; vertically or horizontally? Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson saw the little minds build beautiful dreams with their magic crayon…. a garden full of flowers and butterflies as friends, sailing away in a ship and excitedly scoring goals in a football match. At Bookaroo the kids got really excited about getting their books Monkey Magic by Grant S. Clark and A silly story of Bondapalli by Shamim Padamsee signed by the authors and while interacting with them.
A BOOK, A STORY, AN AUTHOR, AN ILLUSTRATOR, INSPIRATION & MORE
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