South Asia Forum for Education Development South Asia Forum for Education Development


  South Asian Forum for Education Development (SAFED)

Children's Literature Festival

Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) and the Oxford University Press (OUP), in collaboration with Foundation Open Society Institute (FOSI) Pakistan, organized the Children's Literature Festival (CLF) for the children of Lahore and, subsequently, for those of other cities of Pakistan. CLF was a two-day festival held on 25 and 26 November 2011.

The venue was at the Children's Library Complex at Shahra-e-Aiwan-e-Tijarat. Children and educators from all over the country attended the CLF as participants. On the guest list were local and international celebrities, authors, publishers and several vibrant personalities relevant to the occasion.

CLF was the first literature festival for the children of Pakistan to be held at the national level. It aimed to promote reading, creativity, and critical thinking among children. The CLF was an exciting initiative aimed at creating an interest in children in books, reading, writing, authors, and literature and to lure them. It was a part of our ongoing efforts to lure them into experiencing the joys and rewards of reading for pleasure and information. This was also a part of OUP's ongoing effort to develop a taste for reading among the children of Pakistan, and entice them into savoring the pleasures offered by books. Studies show that a love for reading leads to children's success in schools.

An exciting and fun-filled programme was planned for the CLF. It featured talks and readings by famous children's writers, provided opportunities for children to listen to their favourite books being read and discussed, attend classes on creative writing, learn about bookmaking, write book reviews, attend puppet shows and children's theatre, and participate in many other fascinating activities related to reading. For educators, the programme was designed to create a better understanding of using books for triggering children's imaginations. There were sessions on local languages to popularize mother tongue learning in Pakistan

Read More - http://www.childrensliteraturefestival.com/ .

Said about the CLF:

"Gleaming eyes and happy faces of children and young parents, endless queues at the gate and the festival of books inside. It was a treat to watch young scholars vying to get to books, pamphlets, anything worth reading, listening, watching. The child in me took me to the puppet show, to the theatre, to story reading and video viewing and listening to students tearing textbooks to pieces, watching their unabashed enjoyable extempore presentations from the main stage parallel to the technical sessions by experts (Adults!) - the segment I had to miss ( most of it!). I simply wanted to be wherever children were, sharing the exciting moments they were experiencing. What struck me was the inhibited, cogent and discerning comments of girls from State schools. They were speaking to the Text Book Board officials as equals and made sure it was in English, least concerned whether they were speaking the Queen's English or their own adaptation - they were making their point and powerfully too."

Prof. Usha Nayar
Chairperson Tinnari


As I walked out of the Children’s Library Complex I saw a gentleman struggling to adjust five little girls with beaming faces, on a motorbike. While I tried to convince him to do two rounds, he told me that it was not so difficult in the morning, but by the end of the day each one of them had collected loads of freebies from the different stalls and were not ready to part with any of the printed material- some of them just scraps of paper! One of the little girls said, “I will decorate my room with these brochures as they will always remind me of the most enjoyable day of my life”.

It was a very unique experience given the disturbed times we’re living in; the participation in terms of numbers and fervor was absolutely amazing. The overwhelming public response definitely points at the need for such events; it also signals a general sense of awareness about the significance of reading.  The fact that so many schools and families were there shows the readiness of the people to divert their energies towards reading and books. Accolades to both OUP and ITA for making people understand that books are not just pieces of paper, and that books and reading can open up minds to infinite worlds of information and entertainment. CLF made many teachers, children and parents understand the many different ways books and other teaching and learning materials can be utilized as alternate resources of information and entertainment.”

Huma Mirza

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