Delhi-dwellers interested in children’s writing, do mark your calendars for Jumpstart: Join the Dots, a two-day event being organised by the German Book Office at the Indira Gandhi National Centre on August 20-21. There will be panel discussions, workshops and presentations, and the speakers will include authors, illustrators and library experts from Asia and Europe. The programme schedule has a strong variety of topics, from a discussion on the special challenges facing translators of children’s stories (a field in which cultural differences can be especially tricky to negotiate) to lighter sessions such as “Draw me a story”, featuring the German illustrator Ole Konnecke and others.
I spoke with Young Zubaan’s Anita Roy, who is helping to organise the event, and she made the point that today’s children are growing up in a very different world from that of the adults who are responsible for putting together children’s books. Naturally this leads to a certain amount of confusion and fumbling in the dark. “It’s crucial,” Anita said, “for the adults concerned – editors, artists, librarians, teachers and of course parents – to properly understand the many issues surrounding children’s literature. How does a child read emotions and respond psychologically to a book’s layout and its use of visuals? What effect is technology – such as the e-book – likely to have in the years to come? Is reading even as important as it was for an earlier generation?”
At the same time, the event won’t be all about grown-ups pontificating away at each other. The last session, “Child speak”, will fittingly hand the stage to young readers of different ages – and as Anita points out, it won’t be surprising if they raise a whole new set of issues that the adults hadn’t even thought of. Registrations for Join the Dots are open now – for details, check the GBO website or email email@example.com.
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[Some earlier posts on children's writing: notes from my Germany trip last year (1, 2, 3), Bookaroo 1 and 2]