I have always been intrigued by narratives and for quite some time I had been contemplating on having a storytelling session with children, for there is always so much to learn from them.
Thanks to Pratham and Lit World (http://blog.prathambooks.org/2012/03/tribe-of-pratham-books-champions.html), I volunteered to read out a story called “Paper Play” (Written by Mala Kumar, Illustrated by Ruchi Shah, Pratham Publication) to children in Ahmedabad.
7th March is “World Read Aloud Day” and though I wanted to conduct multiple sessions and reach out as many children as I could, considering the festival Holi, I conducted today’s session with a small yet exceptionally vibrant and enthusiastic group of children. The next session shall be held at a school along with dialogue on Child Rights and Paper Craft Workshop.Following are notes and pictures from today’s experience.
Today’s session would have been impossible without our jovial and loving Prakash Bhai, who works at the National Institute of Design (NID), Gandhinagar. Prakash Bhai and his wife were extremely supportive and helpful in conducting this session at their special terrace.
(Note: all the photographs in this post are only to share the experience of the session and must not be used for any other purpose!)
( All following Photographs Courtesy Sudeep Shyamal)
Artwork on the terrace has been done by students of Toy and Game Design at NID. This lively environment was indeed a great boon.
We started with four, in due course via interest and word of mouth we were seven children and three adults. In the beginning, I also gave sheets (we reused sheets which went waste in an earlier purpose) and pencils, so that they could write down about things we discuss throughout the story. I did not want it to be a one way process, and intended to make it as participatory as I could.
We also spoke about paper boats, our favorite movies, actors, whom we idolize as heroes and where all would we like to travel, just as Bittoo in the story wished to sail all around the world in his paper boat.
Since Bittoo seemed to be liking fame, all of them wrote their answers on what they wanted to be when they grew up and what were their dreams. From driving an auto rickshaw to wearing high heels, we sure had fun discussing our dreams.The children also shared their favorite destinations and where all they would like to travel, Kankaria Lake (Ahmedabad) and Canada seemed to be much preferred locations.
Now, we reached an interesting stage when Jinal promptly volunteered to cut a hole in the paper just like children in the story did. Arth drew the circle, Jinal cut it with scissors (she seemed to be really enjoying craft) and everyone got their picture clicked from behind the hole, just like in the book! and of course, each time “Smile Please!”
This input from Dhruv came in when we were talking about names of our friends as compared to names of children in the book. Since he mentioned Salman Khan as his best friend everyone came up with their favorite characters on Television. And voila! they even enacted their roles :
So why should we be left behind?
Jinal narrated a story on Ghosts later. This led us to talk about villians. According to Hetal, Aryan was one for he would tease her.
And now our terrace version of Art Attack :
Since the story began with a window, I asked them to list down what they possibly see from their window (including ghosts) and we could make our own window and gift it to Prakash Bhai for being so generous and supportive.
Since these children stay in Prakash Bhai’s neighbourhood, his house allows fair access (to Window) to all of them and they can come and use/play with it any time.
A look at our Window urf Mini Kaavad 😉
A very special thanks to Shruthi Raj Gangadhar and Suneeta Karri (Toy and Game Design, NID) for their help and support. We definitely owe a thanks to Pratham for giving us the opportunity to enjoy this Story.
Today was the first time I had met these children and we ended up having great fun. Not only was it constructive but also a good learning experience. The children enjoyed themselves and had to be called back to their homes after two hours. They all liked the story but we felt it could perhaps have been even longer. 🙂 A day truly spent well.