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Friday, 14 June 2013

Pratham Books Champions : Aanandika Sood


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.

Aanandika Sood sent us this story. Aanandika Sood aspires to be the rolling stone that gathers a lot of moss. After 8 years of writing copies and columns, editing and scripting stories and honing her PR skills, she is now playing the part of a freelance writer and a momee. She lives in Kolkata, blogs at aanandika.blogspot.in and writes on anything that stimulates her mind and merits comment.

Storytelling session held in Kolkata, 8th September 2012

It was a fine evening when a green package arrived at my door step. I was super excited as I tore it open and found a treasure inside. The treasure- the books – were sent by the Bangalore based publishers Pratham Books who were encouraging people to conduct a story telling programme on the World Literacy Day. And with just that much I became a Pratham Books’ Champions.

The book reading was to be conducted on September 8 which fell on a Saturday. I had decided to conduct the story telling session at my house and had duly called up all the mommies around me, who I knew would be and should be excited by the prospect of a story session. 

Though the day had dawned bright and gay, by the time evening arrived, the rain gods seemed a wee bit unhappy. That, however, did not dampen the enthusiasm that had built inside the Sood household with the husband helping with shifting the furniture to make ample room for jumpy kids and Netra donning her brand new lehenga to essay the role of Susheela, the protagonist of the book- Susheela’s Kolams.

Susheela’s Kolams a vibrantly illustrated small book had arrived as part of the treasure earlier. This book was being read across the country by many other Pratham Books’ Champions in numerous events being held the same day.

Susheela learnt to draw kolams from her mother and loved to draw them everywhere. So great was her love for kolams and so great her talent that she was even approached by the Air Force whom she told ‘how to dip, dive and turn their planes...’

On the appointed hour, our guests began to arrive, unfazed by the shower, thunder and lightning. We started our session at 5.30 PM. I read out the story to them. There were enthusiastic oohs and aahs as I used a puppet to play Susheela and other things like a kite at the appropriate moment. The session was interspersed with a lot of interactive questions answers like what material was Susheela using to make her kolams. What else could be used? If they had assisted their mommies ever in making kolams or something similar? This was fun and the kids came up with well-thought out answers. They could easily draw a parallel between Suseela’s kolams and rangolis that were made with gulal on various festive occasions and to mark celebrations.

The story telling session was followed by a game of chits in which each child was asked to draw a chit and then perform the activity written therein. The chits had a name of a colour and a number written on them. This meant that you had to name the number of things with that particular colour. Others included telling a song or a rhyme on colours which had them all singing the poem on traffic lights. 

Next came the most interesting part, where my champion Shikha treated us all for our hard work with delicious cake, savouries and a sumptuous chowmein. 

By the end of the session Shikha aunty and Susheela had won many ardent fans.









Thank you Aanandika 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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