Enlarging children’s worlds through Pustaka Bookaroo

By Patricia Hului
[email protected]


A child browsing through book during Pustaka Bookaroo.

The late First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy once said, “There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”

The world of children from around Kuching was indeed enlarged last weekend as they discovered the love of books through storytelling, crafts-making and doodling during Pustaka Bookaroo Festival of Children’s Literature.

The second edition of the event was held on Apr 16-17 from 11am to 4.30pm at the Sarawak State Library in association with Bookaroo Trust, New Delhi India.

Bookaroo Trust is a charitable trust committed in bringing children and books together to spread the joy of reading.

It was started in India back in 2008 and so far has held 16 children’s literature festivals in Delhi, Pune, Goa, Ahmedabad and Kuching.

The festival was organised to celebrate the joy of reading among children.

Additionally, the event aimed to enhance public awareness and consciousness of the necessity of making children understand the importance of reading and enlightening them that reading is a fun venture.


Parents helping their children fill their dream jars. This is a session inspired by a book by Roald Dahl called The BFG.

With 23 invited both local and foreign children’s authors and illustrators, the event also offered a chance for children to meet and greet with them.

Interested parents were seen buying books for the children and had the authors sign them.


Books by invited speakers were also available for sale during the two-day event.

Some of the activities included a storytelling marathon, paper capers galore, making beautiful poetry, listening to the story behind the national anthem and famous characters from the past.

As there were so many interesting things going on at the same time that the state library reserved several areas to give space for Pustaka Bookaroo.

They even renamed the locations as Baruq, Crafty Corner, Doodle Wall and The Cove.


Children being crafty at The Cove.

Each storyteller had different styles of pulling the children into their stories, leaving them captivated throughout the session.

Australian author Mark Greenwood in his session ‘Breathing New Life into Myths and Legends’ had the children frustrated as he told them cliff-hanger stories.

By doing so, Greenwood wanted the children to use their imaginations to write their own endings to the stories instead.


Mukherjee telling the story of ‘Why the sky is blue?’ to children from 10 to 12.

Parnab Mukherjee from India enchanted the children with his theatrical and poetical way of storytelling.

His expressive impressions combined with his creative ways of using various props had the children drawn in to his stories.

The activities were delivered in either Malay, English and Mandarin making the event accessible to all.

Sessions conducted by invited guests like David Liew, Valentina Trivedi, Nor Azhar Ishak, Lim Lay Koon, Sasya Zuzu, Frané Lessac , Yitping Tay were the only times the children could get their hands dirty and messy.

The children were seen having fun drawing and making crafts with the illustrators and crafters.


Participants of Pustaka Bookaroo concentrating on their doodling.

Prior to the event, an outreach programme Pustaka-Bookaroo in the City (BPIC) was held from Apr 11 to 15 where the invited writers and illustrators visited several locations to spread the joy of reading around Kuching.

Some of the locations were Tadika Rhema, Children Cancer’s ward at Sarawak General Hospital, SEGI College, SJK Chung Hua No 2 and SJK Chung Hua No 6.

Yet, the fun of learning and reading will not end at Pustaka Bookaroo as it will make a presence during this upcoming Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF).

Make sure to catch Bookaroo from Aug 6-7 at 2.30pm till 5.30pm at Sarawak Cultural Village during RWMF.

Follow them on Facebook at Bookaroolitfest for more information.


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