METRO PLUS

Books by the truckload

Little minds at workThe book store promotes Indian authors and publishersspecial arrangement

Little minds at workThe book store promotes Indian authors and publishersspecial arrangement  

If you happen to see a red truck ferrying books in and around the city, in all probability, it is Funky Rainbow. The mobile bookstore started in 2013 by Vidya Mani, Shyam Madhavan Sarada, and Muthamma B Devaya, has grown from 250 books since its inception to 6,000 titles today. While Vidya and Shyam have a background in publishing, Muthamma is an activist for the rights of the differently-abled. This business driven by passion, has made quite an impact on the young readers of Karnataka.

Back in 2013, a motley bunch of people in the city, that included writers and illustrators, came together to discuss the need to promote Indian authors, especially those writing for children. “Shyam Madhavan Sarada, aka Greystroke, then came up with the idea of Funky Rainbow,” recalls Vidya. “We decided on a travelling bookshop because we wanted to reach schools, malls and public events where little readers can be found,” she adds. The truck travels across the State, covering not just the big cities, but the small towns as well.

Funky Rainbow, based in JP Nagar as a library, doesn’t call itself a bookseller; it is rather a book consultant who can cater to the reading requirements of children of any age group. Shyam adds, “We have books that start from Rs. 15.” The red truck carries books for children between the ages of one to 18. It has a wide range, including board books, picture books, and pop-ups. Indian writers and publishers take centre stage at the store.

The team doesn’t shy away from putting up books that cover serious themes such as sex education, female foeticide and adoption, among others. They believe that children need to understand the complexities of life.

The travelling bookshop stocks books in several Indian languages. “What is the point of being a bookshop selling Indian children’s books, if we do not represent multiple Indian languages?” asks Vidya, adding, “The journey, so far, has been encouraging. With every passing year, more and more schools are recognising us for what we do.”

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