Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Readers visit a book store

For the first time ever, the blog has a guest post written by my co-teacher Shruti. I think that it's a beautiful write-up and a pleasant change. She is much more succinct and paints a vivid picture of the wonderful experience. Pictures are courtesy Anish who has been handling the camera for the past few months. Here is Shruti in her own words -

Off late, I have increased the number of read-alouds in class. More often than not, the meticulously picked out book from the library, intended to be a novelty for the kids from my side is intercepted by Soumya, who enthusiastically whispers the next events in the story to her neighbour as I read in class. I give her a silent disapproving look, afraid that she might ruin the story for her friend.  I am greeted by her smiling face in the recess, to be told that she has read ‘this’ book too. She even offers to pick out the book for the next read-aloud.

Soumya is one of the nine kids we took to The Comet Media Foundation at Fort on 8th February to celebrate our dedicated, passionate readers. As a bonus, they were asked to pick out a book for their library to be added as their selection. We spent a considerable time chalking out the list; elated about the fact that we had so many avid readers, disheartened that we could only take a few.

The afternoon heat that day did not deter the girls, Gayatri, Ragini, Rashmita, Yamuna, Nameera, Saira and Soumya from dressing up in their finest salwar-suits. The boys, Ravi and Karan wouldn’t be bothered with clothes and were the first ones to arrive, tugging at Anish’s shirt urging us to leave.

It was a comfortable train ride, with conversations having questions like “Didi, will it be a big bookstore?”, “Will we be allowed to talk there?” or the one which was asked every five minutes - “How much more time Didi?”

A brief walk to Hutatma Chawk got us to a building, with The People’s Bookstore on the ground floor. The watchman directed us to the second floor. A narrow but creatively decorated passage led us to a tiny room with bookshelves stacked on all sides with books and games. The place housed a range of books by Tullikha, Pratham, Tara and a plethora of simplistic but interesting toys. Within five minutes, each kid had found a book they liked and had started reading them. Karan was especially fascinated with the wooden caterpillar and suggested we get that for our library.

Karan with a toy
Yamuna playing with the blocks
Ragini is focusing on her puzzle after reading through a few books
By the end of thirty minutes, Anish found himself humming a Malayalam song from a multi-lingual book (which was picked up by Nameera later) and I was busy building the ‘perfect’ house with Rashmita out of colourful wooden blocks. Two hours later, all the kids had selected books for the library, all without any say from our side. Rashmita hoped that all the students liked the book she picked up. Gayatri was confused between two books that she claimed she loved equally. She made up her mind after a twenty-minute long contemplation.

A lovely picture of Gayatri and Shruti sharing a laugh
Rashmita in full concentration

Ravi, our Science enthusiast, was a bit disappointed about the place not having too many science books. But as we stood to get our books billed, he noticed a stack of thin, light-coloured books. They were by Arvind Gupta and contained beautiful science experiments. Ravi’s face lit up when we told him he could pick up two. We ended the day with lovely ginger biscuits and bun-maska at German Bakery.

It's now Ravi's turn to play with the blocks

The library now has these books with the kids’ names on them. Every time those books are picked up, it is a reminder to us about how far we’ve come; from making do with all the books that were donated to us, to having our kids pick out new books by themselves for ‘their’ library.
Soumya is pretty happy here

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