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A feast for literature lovers

November 29, 2014


Children visit a stall during Children’s Literature Festival at the Children Library Complex. — INP
Children visit a stall during Children’s Literature Festival at the Children Library Complex. — INP

LAHORE: The 15th Children’s Literature Festival – an exciting initiative aimed at promoting reading, creativity and critical thinking – began at the Children’s Library Complex, attracting hundreds of children from different schools.

A large number of parents also brought their children, who participated in different sessions like “Learning maths through stories”, storytelling, Muppet Show and music. Children expressed their jubilation as they were seen running from one session to another, buying books from different stalls, listening to music and participating in games made available by different sponsors.

The two-day Children’s Literature Festival organised by the Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi and Oxford University Press in collaboration with Open Society Foundations, CLC and the School Education Department Punjab began with Punjab Education Minister Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan saying the Punjab government will promote book friendship in the province as a “social movement” in collaboration with Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi and the OUP.

He said the children literature festivals would be arranged in every city of Punjab so that habit of reading could be promoted. “Only those nations progress that know the importance of books,” he said.

He said the younger generation was very talented and the Punjab government was providing platforms to them. He said some four million youth of Punjab had set world record by participating in the Punjab Youth Festival 2014.

Ambassador of the European Union Lars Gunner Wigemark declared Lahore the centre of literature and culture and said renowned writers, poets, artists and musicians were the real identity of this historical city.

At the festival, children also attended sessions explaining animations, interactive music, how to write a story, creative writing session, plays etc.

A serious session on “Championing end of child marriages in Pakistan” was also well taken by children and parents. The session, moderated by Baela Raza Jamil, was participated in by Samar Minallah, Rumana Husain, Manizeh Bano and Dr Narmeen Hamid.

British Council Punjab Director Kevin Mclaven said the festival was a great inspirational event as children from various backgrounds were participating and interacting with each other. “The literature will always remain with us and we must invest in education and literature as fiction enables us to be more creative,” Mr Mclaven said.

CLF founder and ITA Programmes Director Baela Raza Jamil said the festival was dedicated to nurturing a healthy environment of book reading in Pakistan, especially among children.

OUP Managing Director Ameena Saiyid said the promotion of culture of reading in Pakistan was a part of OUP’s long-standing commitment. She hoped that these efforts would result in positive development for the children in the country.

The first day of the festival concluded with a live performance by Laal Band, which continued for more than an hour with children enthusiastically responding to the singers. The second and final day of the festival will begin at the Children’s Library at 9.30am on Saturday.

Published in Dawn, November 29th , 2014