After strolling through the children's section of a book store, 11-year-old Sanjay Krishna ran to his mother, clutching a bunch of books. When asked if he read only during his summer break, he said, “I get time to read and play cricket only during the holidays.” While he zeroed in on picture books like Tom and Jerry and Chhota Bheem, his mother chose Panchatantra and Tinkle for her young reader.
With several publishers releasing titles for children during the summer, book stores in the city are sprucing up to draw in parents and children taking first steps to reading.
“While the younger children prefer picture and hero-based books, teenagers love the vampire series. We have a dedicated section for such titles — ‘Books that bite'. These days, children decide for themselves what books to buy. We constantly update the shelves with new titles,” says Solomon Samuel, head of books section, Landmark.
Niveditha Subramaniam, associate editor, Tulika, says they release picture books every month but, summer is the time for them to aggressively promote children's books.
“Our new title, ‘The sweetest mango', which will be released mid-May is part of the Word Bird series. While our other title ‘The Great Birdywood Games' will come out by the end of the month, ‘Boodabin' which is about an elephant that turns into different creatures, will be released mid-May,” she says.
Amar Chitra Katha recently released its new title, ‘Salim Ali – The bird man of India', a tribute to the renowned ornithologist, and they have more coming.
D. Vishnupriya, founder trustee, Third Eye Charitable Trust, says the trust, faces a different kind of a challenge. The organisation which has released close to 90 titles in Braille this summer, works with publishers and converts books into Braille. “To kindle interest in children, we conduct story-telling sessions and workshops. With the advent of audio books, Braille books are slowly dying. We want to revive children's interest in reading,” she says.
If you thought the PlayStation and Kindle brigade was unassailable, Rajeev Sharma's children prove otherwise. “My 11-year-old is more inclined to reading a book in its physical form. Though he has a Kindle e-reader, it is gathering dust in some corner,” he says triumphantly.