Cindy Jefferies
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India - the Bookaroo Children's Book Festival 2010

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In November 2010 I attended the third Bookaroo Children’s Book Festival in Delhi. It was wonderful to have been invited there, and a fantastic first visit to that wonderful country.

Here I am with Jeeva and Anthony Horowitz outside the festival bookshop, Eureka!

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Bookaroo was dreamed up by Jo Williams, who has been involved with children and books for many years. I first met her when I joined the Federation of Children’s Book Groups Aldbourne branch.

Jo has been in Delhi for the past three years, where her husband is working, and as soon as she arrived she knew she wanted to do something in Delhi connected with books. She got together a committee, and with a lot of hard work Bookaroo was born. Unlike most book festivals in England, Bookaroo events are all free. The organisers rely on generous sponsors, lots of volunteers, and authors who are prepared to appear free of charge.

This huge effort from everyone is well worth it, as it means that thousands of children from Delhi and beyond are able to enjoy a wild weekend of books and book activities.

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Here is Jo in the centre, with other organisers having a last minute meeting at the venue. Most of the events were held outside, at the Indira Ghandi Centre for the Arts. Luckily, although it had rained heavily a few days before, the climate is usually dry in November and indeed the sun did shine brightly for the whole weekend.

Here is the book tree, where everyone was encouraged to write their favourite book title on a card and hang it on the beautiful, shimmering tree.

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And here is a real tree, under which storytellers and authors gathered to tell their tales. The speaker here is Wendy Orr, who is best known for her book, Nim’s Island.

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Anthony Horowitz was the other British author to attend, along with Wendy Cooling who is well known for her fantastic work with Book Trust as well as having produced many very popular collections of stories. As well as us there were (amongst other nationalities) authors and artists from Australia, the USA, Singapore, and of course many from all over India.

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There was a hugely popular doodle wall where professional artists came to encourage anyone who wanted to have a go.

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I ran two sessions on making books with no beginning and no end, and was very impressed by some of the ideas for stories. I gave a talk about my Fame School series too, which is available in India. As you can see we had a lot of fun.

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I also had the opportunity of doing a session at one school, and visiting another. The two schools were very different, but equally interesting and I was very grateful to have the opportunity of visiting.

All in all I had an amazing time, and met lots of inspiring people. Will I go back? I would certainly love to!

Here are Wendy, Jo and her driver Ashok seeing me off at the airport.

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I flew home in December to snow everywhere! It was quite a shock to my system to come from the warmth of a Delhi afternoon into a very cold London evening.

Cindy


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Page last updated 26 January, 2015