From among a group of schoolgirls, Ramsha Zafar admitted bashfully that she was fond of the stories of Amar Ayyar, popularly mispronounced as Umro Ayyar, the legendary trickster from the Dastaan-e Amir Hamza: The Express Tribune
Ramsha, an eighth grader from Al-Farabi Islamic School in Nilore, was visiting the two-day Children’s Literature Festival (CLF) with her classmates and teachers on Friday.
But she was the only one in the group who said she reads children’s storybooks and could recall a favourite character.
The inability of primary- and middle-school children, especially those from public and middle-income schools, to categorically talk about their favourite books and authors appeared to be a significant trend at the CLF, which ended on Saturday.
Most children named textbooks, or worse, school subjects, when asked about their favourite book.
“Today’s children are more interested in watching cartoons,” said teachers from Rawalpindi’s SS Montessori School who had brought some 95 primary-age school children to the CLF.