MUSBA HASHMI chats up author Richa Jha about how to foster reading in children, its challenges and benefits
The first edition of Kukdukoo Lit Fest marked its advent at Kiran Nadar Museum of Arts, Sector 126, Noida on February 9 and 10. The event aimed at developing reading habits in children from their early years. The event saw a wide range of books for children. Some prominent authors and storytellers like Kevin Missal, Seyda, Saattvic and Geeta Ramanujam also marked their presence in the event. The event also conducted interactive storytelling sessions for children of different age groups.
Founder, Avishek Roy said that his inspiration behind coming up with such an event is his seven-year-old daughter. “I have been organising such events for the last four years. This is the first time we conducted this event in Noida and my inspiration behind this is my daughter. She is very fond of reading books and I, as a parent wanted to come up with something which we lacked in our time. We wanted to expose children and their parents to good literature, stories and books through these events which is very critical in today's world,” Roy tells you.
Talking about how to foster reading habits in children, Richa Jha, founder, Miss Mochi said: “There are a few things that we can do to inculcate reading habits in children. First we have to understand that reading in any form is good so there is no compulsion of making children read books if they enjoy reading on their gadgets so let them do it. The moment we start putting restrictions on children on which books to read and what to avoid, the child will automatically gets switched off from reading. Secondly introduce the child to books as early you can so it will create a rhythm of reading and it will arise the love of reading in children.”
Jha, who is also the author of The Manic Panic, (fiction for kids) tells you that instead of taking the child to a toy shop take them to a book shop and let them explore books by themselves and let them buy what they want.
She feels that this is the golden age for children books as there is more liberty to experiment with formats. “I would say this is the golden age for children’s books in India because the writers and author have liberty to experiment with the kind of formats and concepts. A lot of topics including death, transgenders and sexuality which were earlier considered as forbidden and a taboo for children’s book are now taken up by the writers to write in the children’s books. The stories are becoming well-thought through and the endings are becoming more satisfactory,” she tells you adding that knowledge should be the last thing you should expect your child to get from books.
There are a lot of non-fiction books that a child loves to read and there the intent of knowledge is more but when it comes to a fiction book, knowledge is the last thing parents should look at.
“The first thing that the child will get from reading fiction books is that it will create a safe zone in their mind. They will go in a parallel world of their own where they can unwind themselves and it will be a very intimate space and no one can invade it. These are the different sacred spaces for children which they will create with different books and form a connection with. Second, they will learn to solve their own problems by reading instead of running to their parents for the smallest of things. It will create a sense of strength and independence in the child,” Jha says.