Illustration/ Uday Mohite
There’s much to love about India. The diversity in wildlife, food, religion, language and cultural significance. This year, as the country completes 70 years of Independence, author Shamim Padamsee is inviting children to write about their vision for India.
The contest is part of the fourth annual Leading Reading Schools of India Awards (LRSIA) 2017. “The objective is to get children to read India-specific books and mull over their stories. Every year, we have a different theme. This year, the theme selected is India Meri Hai,” says Padamsee.
The awards are an initiative of her website, Young India Books, which is dedicated to promoting India-centric books for children. Padamsee has also put together a video, featuring wildlife photos by India’s leading wildlife photographers, and has sent out a list of books — 10 books each for junior, middle and senior school students — to help with the contest. “Children will see the video, read some of the books and then write an essay, pledging to do their bit to protect our heritage, natural and human, in their own way,” she adds.
Shamim Padamsee (right) handing a trophy to the principal of JBCN International School, one of the LRSIA winners last year
“This year, we’ve equally divided the content of the video and the books into natural diversity and the human angle. We want to see what message children get from the books and how it inspires them.”
The authors of the shortlisted books will judge the essays; the best works will win books by Ruskin Bond. Padamsee cautions that marks for the essays will be given for content, and not grammar or language; the contest is in English only. “We want the content to shine. We have lots of NGO-run schools participating too. We want kids to put their heart and soul into this work without worrying too much about language,” she says.
Along with children, five schools will also be felicitated. “We will honour schools that have gone the extra mile in making children read local books, created book-related or special library programmes. Of course, bonus points will be given to schools whose children send in quality essays,” says Padamsee. Victorious schools will get a wooden, eco-friendly trophy.
The awards will be announced on August 14.
Till April 15 (student registration); June 15 (submission)
Log on to youngindiabooks.com
Cost R200 per child; free for NGO-run schools