Nurturing Children’s Response to Literature

An academic engagement of a panel discussion at the Bengaluru campus for undergraduate and postgraduate students of education

SM Feb 03 25 jan

Join us for a Panel Discussion organised under the 11th edition of KathaVana—a bilingual annual children’s literature festival hosted by Azim Premji University, since 2012. 

Theme: Nurturing Children’s Response to Literature 

Panelists: Jane Sahi, Mamata Pandya, Sarada Natarajan, Shalini Srinivasan

Moderator: Shailaja Menon

About the panelists

Jane Sahi has taught in an alternative school for a number of years. She has been engaged in teaching at the Library Educators’ Course at Bookworm in Goa. She is also involved in a learners’ centre that works with local government schools, particularly in relation to library activities and sessions with children looking at nature through observation, stories and artwork. She has written a number of books including In Our
Own Words, which is about supporting independent and creative writing among children.

Mamata Pandya started writing for children when she also began a new career as an environmental educator, following an academic background and a stint as a college lecturer, in political science. She has spent several decades as an environmental educator with the Centre for Environment Education in Ahmedabad, where she headed the Children’s Media Unit. 

She has a long experience in developing creative teaching-learning resources for children and educators, as well as in teacher training. Pandya’s educational work and writing have been greatly inspired by her grandfather Gijubhai Badheka, who was one of Gujarat’s leading educationists and storytellers. She has been translating Gijubhai’s work, both his children’s stories as well as his writings for parents and teachers, which are now available on the website she has co-created.

Sarada Natarajan is an Associate Professor at Azim Premji University apart from being an art historian, illustrator and singer. Over a span of 14 years, she taught art history and theory at various institutions in India including University of Hyderabad, Shiv Nadar University, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Ashoka University and Krea University, Sri City. 

She also mentored young curators and artists for three successive Students’ Biennales at Kochi. A trained Carnatic vocalist, Dr Natarajan experiments with music and movement for theatre and illustrates for children. The books she has illustrated include the Spark Big Books — Under the Bed, My Own Menagerie and Eleven Stops to the Present: Stories of Bengaluru, published in 2020 by INTACH Bengaluru.

Shalini Srinivasan creates comics, picture books, and fantasy for children and (occasionally) adults. Her books for children include Vanamala and The Cephalopod, Shoecat Thoocat, and Gangamma’s Gharial. Shalini teaches with the English group at School of Arts and Sciences, Azim Premji University, and enjoys keeping a list of fictional murders her students commit every semester.

About the moderator

Shailaja Menon is a language educator who currently leads the Centre for Excellence in Early Literacy at Tata Trusts. She is also the editor of the journal Contemporary Education Dialogue. 

Prior to this, she worked at Azim Premji University in Bengaluru and at the University of Colorado. She also led the Early Literacy Initiative at TISS Hyderabad. 

Menon has conducted research and published in the areas of early literacy and children and literature. She has an abiding curiosity and interest in helping young children become literate in meaningful ways and in supporting teachers and other educators on this journey.