Friday 21 June 2013

Pratham Books Champion : Arundhati Chattopadhyaya and Denise Demello

For International Literacy Day (8th September), we had a dream - we wished that 100 people would volunteer to conduct storytelling sessions across the country. We ended up finding more than 250 champions to conduct storytelling sessions across the country. We will be sharing the stories of all our champions through our blog.

This story was sent by Arundhati Chattopadhyaya. Arundhati Chattopadhyaya, a graduate of St. Xavier’s College, began her dance career in Bombay. She mastered the Pandanallur style of Bharata Natyam from Guru Raghavan Nair. She was part of the Marathi Theatre group Aniket and mostly acted in experimental plays. After bagging the Maharashtra State Award for Acting in 1974 she moved to New York City where she began teaching and performing dance and acting in off-Broadway theater productions. In 1987 she began documentary and feature filmmaking. Arundhati currently lives and works in Goa.

Arundhati wrote ...

Venue: Hamara School
No of children: 15

Denise Demello  and I volunteered to read this book in Goa. There were volunteers all over India doing the same thing. This is a level 1 book and the age group we had was 6-8. There were some older kids who wanted to participate. We had 2 versions, English and Marathi.

Denise started reading the English version. I drew a map of India on their blackboard. Marked major cities so they had an idea how far Tamil Nadu is from Goa . They were very attentive to the story and at the end where Susheela looks at the sky and there were stars, the kids on their own burst into twinkle twinkle little star.

When the English session got over I stated reading the Marathi version. We sat in a semi-circle and had fun with the characters i.e came up with a name for Susheela’s mother. They all wanted her to be Ganga, so there she was, Mrs. Ganga. When it came to the pilots, we had names for them as well, Ramesh and Rajesh. I guess names are very important for these kids. We became pilots and moved our hands in many directions. This way they learnt directions with sound  (we did the air plane sound)They loved the idea that susheela could draw anywhere. Even in the sky.

We gave them papers and crayons and they drew kolams and coloured them. They are going to hang them like the Tibetan flags in their common room.

Kids learnt about Pongal, about Tamil Nadu, and I taught them 2 words in Tamil, ..Thank you, and how are you.

I think reading books is so cool. Fun day.

Thank you Arundhati for spreading the joy of reading!

View more pictures from the International Literacy Day Celebrations.

This blog contains stories sent in by all our champions. Browse through the blog for more stories. You can also go through the tags on the right side of the blog to find stories happening in your own city.

Note : If any of you want to be a Pratham Books Champion and join us on our journey of getting 'a book in every child's hand', write to us at web(at)prathambooks(dot)org.

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