Sunday 8 September 2013

Pratham Books Champion : Vasundhara Bahuguna

This International Literacy Day, Pratham Books has taken a 1000 steps towards a 'Reading India'

What started as a small step by Pratham Books to spread the joy of reading has become a movement. Last year Pratham Books initiated the One Day-One Story initiative on the occasion of International Literacy Day and we conducted over 250 storytelling sessions. This year we are delighted that over a 1000 sessions are happening across the length and breadth of the country.We will be sharing the stories of all our champions through our blog.

This story was sent to us by Vasundhara Bahuguna. Vasundhara is a self-confessed eternal optimist. A writer, creative, she is a lover of art, literature, music, and nature. She scribbles her thoughts on her blog:http://www.vasundharabahuguna.blogspot.com and adores the company of children and books.

From Vasundhara's blog :

It was another Saturday, yet, full of promises of a bright day ahead.

A story was awaiting its turn to be revealed, to be told to a bunch of 80 enthusiastic and mischievous children from class 7. On the occassion of International Literacy Day , Pratham Books aimed to reach out to children across India and the globe, by way of storytelling...in several languages. 

There are a lot of us, and especially our children, who are inclined, yet, oblivious to the world of books, of education. None of us, however, are oblivious to the amazing world of stories.

One such, called "Paplu Rakshas" (Paplu the Giant), was what I had taken upon myself to share with these bubbling handful. These 80 children, at the very sight of artoicles for activity (chart paper, packets, bags in my hand), began to scream, "teacher, when will you give the chart papers to us? Are there colours for us this time, too?"

After managing to quiet them down, without lowering their eagerness, I explained to them how would we go about the story and activity. And so began the story of Paplu the Giant...

80 inquisitive, exuberant children listened to me, hanging on to every word I read to them, aloud. Catching on to every nuance, intonation, and question. They raised their hands to answer questions, they shouted out loud to mimic an imaginary Paplu. The story was letting them be, the narration, setting their imagination free. With child like impatience, they began to predict what-happened-next-situations. They giggled. Their curiosity for the better of them. 

Every response from them oozed creativity and their rich imagination egged them on to more. I had planned for a lot of conversation in between the storytelling. It added to the narration. It brough them close to the experience. Once the narration was over, they split themselves into groups. 

Restless hands began to look for colours, pencils, erasers. Deft fingers began to etch Paplu's sketch on to the chart papers. The verandah where I was conducting this session was abuzz with excitement and mumbles, in the same breath.

Once sketched, it was Paplu's turn to get dressed in newspaper dresses. Beautiful ideas, vibrant colours, and witty explanations spread through the air. Each group stepped up to "present" their creation to the rest of their classmates. With pride in their eyes, joy in their hearts and smiles upon their lips, they displayed their work. 

Happy faces bowed to thundering claps of their friends, and said their good byes for the day. Here's to their spirit, and to the amazing world of stories.

Thank you Vasundhara 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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