Expect nothing, live frugally on surprise.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Don't tell me

Having read Enid Blyton’s Famous Five to Nancy Drew to the Hardy Boys, South Delhi kids have taken a flight of fantasy to the Potter land. And from there kids today have taken a giant leap into the future with fantasy and fiction novels gracing their bookshelves. Indeed the young generation has come a long way from reading just the classic stuff along with some mystery element. In fact, in the present times the meaning of Children’s Literature isn’t limited to classics alone. Says Swati Roy of Eureka, a children’s bookstore at Alaknanda, "Magic and fantasy novels have always had their takers. What has changed over the years is the fact that children have become more receptive to the idea of reading, they are showing an interest in reading. They don’t have to be forced by their parents to read, compared to say the scene six years back."That’s true. Earlier it used to be the parents who would drag their kids to the bookstores. Today it is the other way round. Walk into any bookstore and you’d see intent little faces trying to reach up to their favourite book on the shelf. No, it is not just the graphic novels engaging them. In fact, children today are a very well aware breed by themselves. Parents might dictate their choices, teachers might hand them a list of must-read books to be issued from the school library, it is the kids who are now calling the shots. And why shouldn’t they? After all they have a huge collection and a variety of genres to choose from. The availability of historical fiction, humour, horror, sci-fi and even non-fiction gives them an opportunity to read what they like. Anu Bhardwaj, manager for Library Information Services at the British Council feels that kids today have moved on to become more tech-oriented. "Kids have it in their nature to be adventurous and experimental. So they want to try their hand with several kinds of books. Even a standard 2 kid today wants to pick up a movie that has more grown up content on it rather than just a Scooby Doo picked up by their parents," explains Bhardwaj (one can make that out). Subhadra Sengupta, author of Double Click, a book about four Delhi girls and their adventures believes there are some specific styles that are evergreen for those in the age group of nine years and above as mysteries, ghost books, adventure tales, etc. "Teenagers are much more curious about the world and want to read about history, sports, science fiction. And then there is also a big interest in films and music. Indian authors too are being preferred. Chik lits, these days, are really popular among the teenage girls," explains Sengupta. Indeed chik lits have taken over the minds of young girls these days. Having devoured the pleasures of classic literature with Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and, at the most, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, instead of getting hooked on to Mills and Boons alone, the young ladies prefer Bridget Jones’s Diary and Almost Single by Advaita Kala these days. But then if this is not considered serious reading, William Shakespeare too is a favourite with these little ladies. Ankita Neogi, a 12-year-old student of The Shri Ram School has already read quite a lot of Shakespeare and is enjoying herself too. "Thanks to our parents, I and my little sister read a lot," says Ankita.However, in this age of Internet and television, will books retain their charm for the young minds? Says an optimistic Sengupta, "Look even on the Internet they are reading. And soon our books will be available for downloads like music already is. Internet is the future of information," quips she. Fair enough.Well, till that happens, at the moment, the platter of books for kids is full with a whole variety of genres to choose from and is almost overflowing. Needless to say the kids are loving every word of it. Having read Enid Blyton’s Famous Five to Nancy Drew to the Hardy Boys, South Delhi kids have taken a flight of fantasy to the Potter land. And from there kids today have taken a giant leap into the future with fantasy and fiction novels gracing their bookshelves. Indeed the young generation has come a long way from reading just the classic stuff along with some mystery element. In fact, in the present times the meaning of Children’s Literature isn’t limited to classics alone. Says Swati Roy of Eureka, a children’s bookstore at Alaknanda, "Magic and fantasy novels have always had their takers. What has changed over the years is the fact that children have become more receptive to the idea of reading, they are showing an interest in reading. They don’t have to be forced by their parents to read, compared to say the scene six years back."That’s true. Earlier it used to be the parents who would drag their kids to the bookstores. Today it is the other way round. Walk into any bookstore and you’d see intent little faces trying to reach up to their favourite book on the shelf. No, it is not just the graphic novels engaging them. In fact, children today are a very well aware breed by themselves. Parents might dictate their choices, teachers might hand them a list of must-read books to be issued from the school library, it is the kids who are now calling the shots. And why shouldn’t they? After all they have a huge collection and a variety of genres to choose from. The availability of historical fiction, humour, horror, sci-fi and even non-fiction gives them an opportunity to read what they like. Anu Bhardwaj, manager for Library Information Services at the British Council feels that kids today have moved on to become more tech-oriented. "Kids have it in their nature to be adventurous and experimental. So they want to try their hand with several kinds of books. Even a standard 2 kid today wants to pick up a movie that has more grown up content on it rather than just a Scooby Doo picked up by their parents," explains Bhardwaj (one can make that out). Subhadra Sengupta, author of Double Click, a book about four Delhi girls and their adventures believes there are some specific styles that are evergreen for those in the age group of nine years and above as mysteries, ghost books, adventure tales, etc. "Teenagers are much more curious about the world and want to read about history, sports, science fiction. And then there is also a big interest in films and music. Indian authors too are being preferred. Chik lits, these days, are really popular among the teenage girls," explains Sengupta. Indeed chik lits have taken over the minds of young girls these days. Having devoured the pleasures of classic literature with Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and, at the most, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, instead of getting hooked on to Mills and Boons alone, the young ladies prefer Bridget Jones’s Diary and Almost Single by Advaita Kala these days. But then if this is not considered serious reading, William Shakespeare too is a favourite with these little ladies. Ankita Neogi, a 12-year-old student of The Shri Ram School has already read quite a lot of Shakespeare and is enjoying herself too. "Thanks to our parents, I and my little sister read a lot," says Ankita.However, in this age of Internet and television, will books retain their charm for the young minds? Says an optimistic Sengupta, "Look even on the Internet they are reading. And soon our books will be available for downloads like music already is. Internet is the future of information," quips she. Fair enough.Well, till that happens, at the moment, the platter of books for kids is full with a whole variety of genres to choose from and is almost overflowing. Needless to say the kids are loving every word of it.

2 comments:

MonAmi November 14, 2008 at 2:23 PM  

Uh, Mr. Avinash...right at the starting of this blog article you mentioned Nancy Drew as an Enid Blyton creation.......Nancy Drew was not Enid Blyton's, but created by Carolyn Keene.........as a young girl I had finished the entire Nancy Drew series (even the case files).....so I couldn't stop myself from correcting you on this.

Er. Avinash Pandey November 14, 2008 at 2:37 PM  

thx for correction Mr./Miss. will take care from henceforth

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