The launch of Bookalore was full of fun, laughter, interesting activities and of course, books!

On a bright, sunny Saturday morning last week, sounds of chatter and laughter filled Hippocampus. It was a special day. The day when Bookalore — Bangalore’s First Little Book Club — was launched. An initiative by a group of independent writers, illustrators, editors, filmmakers, among others, Bookalore began with well-known children’s writer and playwright Poile Sengupta reading from her book The Story Of The Road. It was a dramatised reading for children aged between three and five.

Next up was a performance by a talented and expressive group of children from theatre group Natakvalas, directed by Ranjan Kamath. They presented a dramatised reading of Asha Nehemiah’s Meddling Mooli And The Blue-Legged Alien and Meddling Mooli And The Bully On Wheels. Tiny tots to young adults sat engrossed, listening to the adventures of Mooli. For 7-year-old Aditya Kurup the best part was his role. “I liked my part best, because I played Mooli!”

Hearing a story is better

“It was nerve-wracking when we first saw the number of people in the audience. The overall experience was fun, though,” said Mrinali Kikla, a student, and one of the performers.

Fellow performer Advika Nambiar, herself a little over 10, added: “Such readings are a good way to get children to read books because when somebody tells you a story you like it better because sometimes reading is boring.”

Achyath Rachuy, who also participated in the reading, said: “I was nervous,” and when asked if he likes books, he said “Yes! Mystery books are my favourite.”

Magazine Mazaa conducted by the effervescent Vidya Mani, editor of Hoot And Toot, a children’s magazine was perhaps the most engaging activity in Bookalore. Groups of children worked as a team to create a magazine, titled The Bookalore Magazine, 22 pages long with 11 magazine sections. The children came up with wonderful stories and art works.

Besides events, children’s books, both international and contemporary Indian, were arranged in a quiet corner, finding many buyers. The next Bookalore event will be held on March 16 at The Golden Bead School with writer Hema Vaidyanathan.