See all posts
11 December 2010 ·

Bookaroo: enthusiastic readers & amazing young authors

Bookaroo is like no other festival I’ve ever been to. Nearly all sessions were in the open air: mine were all either in the shade of the huge old the Kahani Tree, (the storytelling tree) or in the amphitheatre. Colour, atmosphere…. the place was buzzing – and the buzz seemed to increase every day: a little girl from the Sanskriti school where I spoke on Wednesday dragged her parents along to my Sunday session; families came on the Saturday and returned on the Sunday to hear new authors or favourites again.
Opening ceremony with Favourite Book Tree
And who wouldn’t love this description of my first event…
“The first day, that is, the school’s day saw 12 events taking place, 6 at a time. WendyOrr, author of “The Nim’s Island Journey” talked to children under the Kahani Tree, alarge tree with countless branches that looked like one of those ancient, wise old treesthat smiled down at you like a crinkly-eyed grandmother. As soon as I saw it, I felt as ifit turned to me and said something like- “Come, my child. Come sit under my branchesas I sway them to call the wind. Listen to stories that my bark has grown old on.” It’s agood thing I know I’m rather strange, have limitless imagination and am rather fond ofgrandmothers. I’m quite sure you’d have scampered off! xD
To come back to the event…the children were so engrossed in the event that duringquestion-answer time, hands shot up in seconds and stayed up for minutes till they wereacknowledged! The sensitivity of the children was admirable. They asked extremelythoughtful questions, considering that they were aged between 8-10! While one little boyasked Miss Orr when and why she started writing, another one asked her what inspirationmeant to her. There were so many hands that in the end, Miss Orr decided to close hereyes and pick a hand. The little girl her hand picked asked her, “Is there any book thatrelates most to your real life?Miss Orr closed her eyes for a few seconds, opened them, took a deep breath andsaid, “One about a car accident, yes…”Children are generally restless and fidgety. I know I was quite a hyper child and Iknow what it takes to captivate a child and hold his/her attention for an hour. Miss Orrpossesses in abundance the noble virtue that is patience. She heard each child. In fact,she let them do most of the talking! Like a wise man once said, “Knowledge speaks, but
wisdom listens…”
Storytelling in the amphitheatre

As well as three individual sessions, I did a panel called Acorns to Oaks, with Pancham Yadav (Thanks to his mum Yeena for the photo) who is now 13 but wrote his book The School Ghost at 12; Anshuman Mohan – now 16, and author of ‘Potato Chips’, and Samit Basu, whose funny, insightful (and incredibly fast-paced) sci-fi Turbulence I’ve just finished. Samit, who also chaired with wit and sensitivity, is positively ancient, possibly even 30. Needless to say, I was the oak. (I think the point was that I started writing at 7 or 8 – but I didn’t go off and get published like these two talented boys! I’m trying to remember – I think I did send a manuscript to a publisher when I was 12, but if I did, it was returned. And if by some chance it had been published, I certainly wouldn’t have had the poise and balance to do a panel like this. Very impressive – watch out for these names in the future. 

Samit Basu, Wendy Orr, Anshuman Mohan, Pancham Yadav,
Behind: Venkatesh, Bookarooer Extraordinare 

Add a comment

← Back to all posts

Wendy Orr is a Canadian-born Australian writer. Her books for children and adults have been published in 27 countries and won awards around the world. Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea have also become feature films, starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island) and Bindi Irwin (Return to Nim’s Island.) Her latest book is Cuckoo’s Flight, a companion to the highly acclaimed Bronze Age novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. Read full bio