The two days of Jumpstart, organised by the German Book Office held on August 20 and 21 at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, came to a perfect end, with seven young people talking about what so far had been the domain of adults.
They were brought together in what is called Pecha Kucha, a simple presentation format devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham Architecture where 20 images are shown, each for 20 seconds. The images forwarded automatically and the person has to talk along with the images. Originally invented for young architects, the format, worked wonders for the young Jumpstart participants too.
Fifteen -year -old author Anshuman Mohan of St Xavier's School, Kolkata kick-started the event, declaring confidently that he was there to "launch a counter attack and speak for the kids and from the kids". His first book, Potato Chips, does the same. It's a contemporary tale of a boy dealing with a new school, new friends and a new house.
Using photographs he had taken, Anshuman talked about the world of his books, sharing his likes and dislikes with the audience. He was followed by the youngest participant in the show, eight-year-old Rhia Kashyap of the Shri Ram School, another voracious reader.
Pancham Yadav, an 11 -year- old writer and artist from Pathways World School, was next. Writing since the age of six, Pancham has already authored six books and many poems. Pancham shared his illustrations with the audience and talked about his comic creation The Phoenix Man Both Gayathri Shankar and Sarah Kumar, aged 11 and 12 years, talked about their love for books, giving the audience an insight into their worlds. Atin Bose, 15 years old and studying in Mother's International School, talked about his love for art and designing.
The event was wrapped up by Jay Visvanath, a 17-year-old student of Sanskriti School. He admitted that while he rarely read a book, he loved facts, and they were available to him anywhere, making it unnecessary for him to turn to printed books. A true child of technology, Jay talked about the advantages of the internet as a source of knowledge. Through the presentation, Jay intermittently asked trivia questions and gave away chocolates for the correct answers. There were very few of those though, for who knew that it was Florence Nightingale who invented the Pi diagram and that Antarctica is the driest place on the planet.
The hour long programme opened up a window into the world of these children and their books. After all, who better than a group of intelligent and resourceful youngsters to talk about young people?
The Last Act of the evening was a performance by The Tadpole Repertory, a band of theatre artists committed to producing quality theatre in Delhi. Kriti Pant, Momo Ghosh and Neel Choudhary had the audience captivated with dramatic readings of Shel Silverstein's poems and prose from various children's books.
Keywords: children's literature