Music, puppets, arts and crafts and story-telling sessions were held on the first day of the Children’s Literature Festival that opened at the Children’s Library Complex on Friday.
The two-day festival is being organised by the Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) and the Oxford University Press (OUP) in collaboration with the Open Society Foundation and the Children’s Library Complex.
Education Minister Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan and European Union Ambassador Lars Gunnar Wigemark attended the opening ceremony that featured the Children’s Literature Festival’s anthem Hamain Kitab Chahiye (We need books).
Book stalls, arts and crafts corners and stalls of several interactive activities were set up by the Sindh Education Foundation, the ITA, the OUP, the Lahore Waste Management Company, Liberty Books and Paramount Books.
Toffee TV, Rabtt, The Little Art and Mandwa Theatre were also part of the festival. The Alif Laila Book Bus Society has parked a Story Teller bus along with a fleet of vehicles carrying books.
A child getting his face painted. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS
Decorated with colourful flags and banners, the road leading to the complex was seen packed with cars and buses as children made their way to attend the festival’s 15th edition.
A large number of children attended the sessions conducted by actor Adeel Hashmi, ITA Director Baela Raza Jamil, Haseena Moin, actor Mira Hashmi, educationist Prof Arfa Syeda Zehra, actor Khalid Anum, ceramist Sheherezade Alam, OUP Managing Director Ameena Saiyid, Senator Aitezaz Ahsan, poet Fehmida Riaz, musicians Ali Hamza and Taimur Rehman.
The sessions included book readings, lectures, interactive musical performances, theatrics and orations, reading with expression and creative arts.
The Laal band performed a Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s poem.
Anum held an interactive music session at Bagh-i-Sheherezade where several children sang along with the artist.
“Distortions in our curricula have kept our children away from our cultural heritage and history,” Ahsan said.
Baela Raza Jamil and Saiyid said they were dedicated to promoting book reading.
British Council’s Punjab chapter director Kevin Mclaven said, “Children from various social sectors are here. Literature will always remain with us… we should invest in education.”
“While reading books help develop the imagination process, picture books help bridge the gap between what we read and what we imagine,” educationist Zehra.
She was speaking at an interactive session, titled Tasveeri Kahani Silsila and Graphic Stories.
“The dilemma in our stories is that we dissociate the personality from its core identity as a human being,” Zehra told a small audience of children, parents and teachers at Bhittai Library of the complex.
She said children were never told what Muhammad Ali Jinnah was like when he was a child.
“We dissociate the person from the reader so much that our children fail to relate to the actual human being.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2014.