Pitara Book Fair

A three-day book fair organized on 5th, 6th and 7th January, 2017.

Working in education sector has given us the opportunity to work very closely with children of different age groups. The understanding gained through these experiences is used in creating relevant and effectual Teaching and Learning Material from time to time. It was seen that within a course of a few years, with change in technology, there came a change in children’s approach to literature. With rapid increase in use of mobile phones, internet, computers and television, along with a decrease in the number of libraries in schools, the natural outcome is that children’s attention is drifting away from literature and books. It is an undeniable fact that books are a gateway to unexplored dimensions within an individual; it enables a person to vicariously experience life in innumerable ways. Seeing that the current generation of children are being void of this treasure, we decided to take a small step towards introducing them to the world of literature by means of book fairs.

We had initially planned to conduct a book fair every 3 months; however, since our first book fair in August, 2016, we have successfully completed 3 book fair in 5 months. Apparently the kids have shown great interest towards books!

The most recent book fair ‘Pitara’ was held for 3 days on 5th, 6th and 7th January, 2017 in Tejendra School, Amraivadi. Like the earlier two book fairs, this too was held in a school where majority of students were slum dwellers. We had about 500 books, in Gujarati, Hindi and English from various local publishing houses like Tulika, Eklavya, Pratham, Jyotsana, etc. It is seen that children lose interest in books because the only books that they generally know of are academic books which have been forced upon them. Pitara included story books relevant to all age groups, from 1st to 12th grade children. Classic children’s literature like Panchatantra and Akbar-Birbal stories became their instant favorites; science books and activity books were also appreciated by the kids.

During the first two days of the fair, children visited and browsed through the collection, feeling free to read whichever books their hearts desired. Moreover we had planned various activities for the children. On the third day they purchased books that had interested them the most, some came with their parents while some with their teachers. While many parents encouraged their children to buy as many books as they wished, there were a few children who had to resort to their piggy banks. More than 250 children attended the book fair out of which around 200 children took books back home.

It was an experience not only for the children, but also for Jeevantirth team. Bal Mitras shared their revelation saying, “We didn’t know that there were so many publications and books providing so many varieties! Of course the children were oblivious to it. We plan to organize a book fair every 2 months.”