60th Children’s Literature Festival | Mega Event Held at Arts Council

KARACHI: The two-day, 60th Children’s Literature Festival (CLF) culminated here last week at Arts Council, where children of all ages and backgrounds as well as adults could be seen participating with great enthusiasm.

All locations of the venue being used for the festival had been renamed by CLF to commemorate authors, literati, artists, citizens, noble prize winners and grand geographies of Pakistan like Shah Abdul Latif Bithai Auditorium, Sohail Rana open air theatre, Hakim Said ki Baithak, Anita Ghulam Ali Auditorium, Fahmida Riaz ki Baithak, Dr Hamida Khuhro ki Baithak, Sadequain Gali, Bab-e-Hingol, Abdus Salam labs, Jamshed Nusserwanjee Mehta Courtyard, and Burns Road.

The festival opened with multiple sessions taking place simultaneously leaving one hard put to decide which one to attend and which to leave. One could even see people hopping from one to another in a bid to attend as many as possible within the same time slot. 

The second day’s morning session saw Bhittai Auditorium packed with kids who were being entertained by Daastan Goi by Atif Badar followed by film screening and talks by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and Shehrbano Saiyid, a play by NAPA, a riveting string puppetry performance by Thespianz Theatre and a session on Bhit Shah. 

Sohail Rana Auditorium witnessed four book launches, an open mic session for students under an expert panel followed by Sing Along with Khaled Anam, theatre workshop by Atif Badar and more book launches.

The room titled Hakim Said ki Baithak had sessions through the day varying from storytelling to talks on books and innovative approaches to learning and a book launch.

Anita Ghulam Ali Auditorium had dramatic readings by Zambeel, storytelling, discussion with five-year old child prodigy, music and poetry. Also in the same auditorium there were panel discussions based on learning and environment and popularizing libraries as spaces for active learning, while in Fahmida Riaz ki Baithak OUP had a full-day activity on the art of bookmaking.

Dr Hamida Khuhro ki Baithak had various sessions on storytelling, interactive fun games for children, a young authors forum, a session on creating reading habits and importance of Art and Literature followed by Yoga.

The full day programme comprised sessions at Sadequain Gali which was divided into learning spaces where through the day on-going activities took place including arts and crafts workshops, theme games, photo both and exhibition on children’s book illustrations and a musical concert by young qawwals glued attendees to their seats.

 Bab-e-Hingol featured a sand and 3-D art performative interactive display through the day while Abdus Salam Labs featured various digital activities. To highlight the creative side of our young generation, Jamshed Nusserwanjee Mehta Courtyard featured on-going activities like clay modelling, digital 3D activities, pop-up learning, documentary and hands-on activities on Makli, mental health camp, learning and reading corner.

CLF’s sponsors included Oxford University Press (OUP), British Council, Telenor, Allied Bank, UNESCO, Italian Agency For Development Cooperation and National Foods. The festival attended by media, parents, teachers and students of various institutions was a huge success and the participants benefited greatly from it.

It may be noted that CLF is the largest learning festival for children and teachers in Pakistan enabling children to learn with all their multiple senses and intelligences. Managed by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), it has a nationwide footprint having completed 59 CLFs (in all four provincial capitals and Islamabad and over 25 districts of the country, reaching over 1.4 million children and teachers since its inception in November 2011.

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