‘Pusthaka vandi,’ the mobile book exhibition-cum-sales van brought out by the State Institute of Children’s Literature this vacation is proving to be a hit among children. With growing demands for a mobile unit selling children’s books, the ‘vandi’ will soon take a State-wide tour to reach out to a larger crowd.

The mobile unit , which has a collection of more than 300 books published by the institute and Bookmark Publishers, had been touring select places in the city since March 23 and the response has been overwhelming. The plan is to conduct a statewide tour and extend this idea to other districts, said Nedumudi Harikumar, Director of the institute.

Vijaya Kumar, who is in-charge of the sales, said that books worth Rs.40,000 has been sold and the response from children was very positive.

“We travelled to places such as Shangumugham beach and various children’s park in and around the city and children were enthusiastic about such a travelling book unit. Tagore Kathakal Kuttikallkku , a rare collection of 30 stories of Rabindranath Tagore translated from the original Bengali by Bhawani Cheerath-Rajagopalan and Mahabaratham by Sugathakumari are two books that were in much demand among the children,” he said.

The organisers feel that such mobile units are a creative way to attract the children to the world of books. Thaliru , the children’s magazine started by the institute in 1995 and the only one of its kind published by the government agency, has also been gaining popularity through such interventions, said the Director.

The colourful luck-dip pot promising assured prizes was an attraction for the children, many of whom won goodies including story books, colour pencils and pens. A mega lucky-dip has been organised, where children could win books worth Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 5,000.

The winners will be announced at the inaugural function of the vacation camp organised by the institute on April 4.