KathaVana 2022 will tap into children’s response to literature and find ways of nurturing it. There are a variety of ways in which children can respond to literature. Some may choose to empathise with the characters, while some may not like a poem at all! Some may be reminded of an old memory and find catharsis through drawing and talking about it, or some may simply enjoy travelling through the words on a page. 

We need to understand that restricting children to only one form of response or one way of responding to literature is going to curtail their natural inclination to empathise, imagine and create. Encouraging children to engage in divergent thinking and diverse ways of responding to literature helps them to enrich their sense of aesthetics and ways of deriving pleasure from it. Above all, it values the individual perspective a child brings to literature and places the child’s self at the centre-stage of responding to literature. 

Therefore, it becomes imperative that teachers and caregivers recognise their role in nurturing children’s response to literature and find ways of supporting children in this engagement.

To meet this vision, the following four strands have been planned under KathaVana 2022:

1. Online Children’s Literature Festival Week | November 14 – 182022

A 5‑day online children’s literature festival for children in government schools in nine districts of Bagalkot, Bellari, Bidar, Gulbarga, Koppal, Mandya, Raichur, Vijayapura, and Yadgir, in Karnataka.

2. Two-day Residential Teacher Workshop | December 12 – 132022

A two-day twelve-hour residential workshop on the theme Nurturing Children’s Response to Literature: Role of Teachers and Caregivers, at Azim Premji University’s Bengaluru campus for government schoolteachers.

3. In-person Children’s Literature Festival (fondly called The Mela) | December 142022

A day-long mela being organised for around 1,000 people (including 750 children) at Azim Premji University’s Bengaluru campus. 

The invited children and teachers will be from the surrounding communities with whom our Community Engagement Initiative and Education Practicum programmes work.

Teachers participating in the residential workshop will also be invited. Several stalls will be put up that will have authors, illustrators, theatre performers, storytellers, poets, publishers, folk art performers, and much more, to introduce children in-person to different ways of engaging with literature.

4. Panel discussion | February 32023

Online Children’s Literature Festival Week

Day 1 | 14 November 2022 | 10 AM – 11:30 AM

Read-aloud | Maitri Vasudev

The session will be read-aloud of a story by Maitri Vasudev with an interesting follow-up activity for children. The session will be moderated by Umashankar Periodi.

The session will be in Kannada.

About Maitri

Maitri’s interest in children’s literature began in 2015 when she started to examine it through the postcolonial lens as part of her master’s degree programme in English literature. 

Over time, however, this interest has evolved into a practical one; she currently runs a teacher-research project at Azim Premji School, Bengaluru, on using picture books bilingually in the first-grade classroom. 

She engages children in Kannada and English read-alouds regularly, in the hope of studying how literature contributes to literacy. From 2017 to 2022, Maitri also taught language-based courses at Azim Premji University, Bengaluru.

Maitri Vasudev

Glimpses from Day‑1

Day 2 | 15 November 2022 | 10 AM – 11:30 AM

Illustrations | Malavika Rajnarayan

What role do illustrations play in engaging with literature? Join Malavika while she explores this question along with you as you read and draw. The session will be moderated by Umashankar Periodi.

The session will be in Kannada.

About Malavika

Malavika is an artist based in Vadodara, Gujarat. She studied painting at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in Bengaluru and the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. 

She has exhibited her work both in India and abroad. She divides her time between her studio practice and education-related work. She was a fellow at Azim Premji Foundation from 2017 – 2019, and continues to learn about art, education, and arts education every day.

Malavika Rajnarayan

Glimpses from Day‑2

Day 3 | 16 November 2022 | 10 AM – 11:30 AM

Storytelling | Matturu Subbanna (Balasubramhanya)

Become part of an interactive story-telling and let Mutturu Subbanna (Balasubramhanya) introduce you to katha abhinaya’ (story acting) through the fun-filled session. The session will be moderated by Umashankar Periodi.

The session will be in Kannada.

About Matturu Subbanna (Balasubramhanya)

Balasubramhanya has a teaching experience of 45 years and is at present the Director of Hill Rock National Public School, Nagarbhavi, Bengaluru. 

He is a Kannada children’s literature author under the pseudonym Matturu Subbanna’ and has 14 titles published under his name. He has won several awards that appreciate his contribution to children’s literature, katha abhinaya’ (story acting), and his work with children.

Matturu Subbanna (Balasubramhanya)

Glimpses from Day‑3

Day 4 | 17 November 2022 | 10 AM – 11:30 AM

Puppetry | Gagan Kumar

Have fun along with children in making puppets and telling stories through them with Gagan Kumar in the session. The session will be moderated by Umashankar Periodi.

The session will be in Kannada.

About Gagan

Gagan Kumar received master’s degree (MA) in Education from Azim Premji University and another master’s degree in Foundational Puppetry from UNIMA India. 

He has been working as a freelance puppeteer for theater companies like RangaShankara, Ishara Puppet Trust, New Delhi, and he has been involved in numerous puppet performances, projects like Old Man and the Sea’ and Circle of Life’ which have performed in Turkey and China. 

He is currently working in Creative School, Bengaluru as a puppet instructor for children and is exploring puppetry inside the classroom as a teaching and learning material.

Gagan Kumar

Glimpses from Day‑4

Day 5 | 18 November 2022 | 10 AM – 11:30 AM

Poem and story writing | S V Kashyap

The session will see children becoming poets and story writers in Bareeri Corner with S V Kashyap. Join them and explore the rhythmic and exciting world of poems and stories. The session will be moderated by Umashankar Periodi.

The session will be in Kannada.

About S V Kashyap

S V Kashyap is a theatre practitioner, a practicing dental surgeon, secretary of Vijayanagara Bimba, Centre for Theatre Education, Creative head, Theatre Lab and Secretary of Rangachittara. 

He has a bachelor’s degree in Dental Surgery, a master’s degree in Kannada Literature, and another master’s degree in Performing Arts (Drama) and is a qualified Assistant Professor in Theatre. 

He has written, acted in, and directed several theatre plays, street plays, children’s plays, television serials and telefilms, written books on theatre, drama, and plays, and has been awarded several times for his contribution to Kannada Literature and Performing Arts.

S V Kashyap

Glimpses from Day‑5

Two-day Residential Teacher Workshop | December 12 – 132022

Another central purpose of KathaVana is to introduce and convince government school teachers of the power and relevance of children’s literature in children’s lives. 

Teachers need to be aware of ways in which they can nurture children’s responses to literature and not restrict them to only one way of engaging with literature. They also need to identify the role caregivers play in this engagement such that they can support them meaningfully in this endeavour. 

Therefore, a 2‑day 12-hour residential workshop on the theme Nurturing Children’s Response to Literature: Role of Teachers and Caregivers’ was organised at Azim Premji University’s Bengaluru campus for teachers.

Selection of teachers

28 government school teachers from different districts of Karnataka were selected based on their participation in previous workshops and the online festival, interest and commitment to this series of workshops, and the potential for implementing the work done in the workshops with children.

Objectives

  • To identify different ways in which children respond to literature
  • To discuss the relevance of children’s response to literature
  • To familiarise themselves with and develop ways of nurturing children’s response to literature in the classroom
  • To identify the role caregivers, including parents, play in nurturing children’s response to literature
  • To explore ways of supporting caregivers in nurturing children’s response to literature

On Day 1, 26 government school teachers joined us for an enriching discussion on the theme. Resource Persons Maitri Vasudev, Manjunath S V, Sonika Parashar and Vinay Nadgir led them through the objectives of the workshop and focused on why it is important to nurture children’s response to literature, and what could be some of the ways in which teachers can nurture children’s response to literature. 

Teachers engaged in different small group activities that they can take back to their classrooms, and presented their work to each other. The presentations led to enriching discussions on different ways and ideas on nurturing children’s response to literature in their classrooms.

On Day 2, facilitated by resource persons Manjunath S V, Sonika Parashar and Vinay Nadgir, the same set of teachers engaged in a discussion on classroom implications of their work done the previous day and arrived at principles that could support them in nurturing children’s response to literature. 

They discussed the importance of feedback along with the principles and ways of giving constructive feedback to children on their work. The workshop concluded by identifying the role caregivers, including parents, play in nurturing children’s response to literature, and how teachers can support them in the same.

Glimpses of Children’s Mela (14th December, 2022)