According to Amrita Patwardhan, head of the education portfolio in Tata Trusts, 45 per cent of all literature for children published in the country is in English, 25 per cent is in Hindi, while all other Indian languages constitute the remaining share. And yet, it’s not as dismal a state as one would imagine. “Over the last 15 years or so, we’ve seen a greater number of writers engage with children’s literature. There is greater diversity in content, genres and much of this is thanks to the efforts of independent publishers such as Pratham Books, Duckbill and Tulika Publishers. This has also meant that there are more such books published in regional languages in India,” says Patwardhan, in turn highlighting that there’s no danger of overcrowding in the field of literature for children written in Indian languages other than English and Hindi.
To celebrate this diversity, Tata Trusts’ Parag Initiative has instituted the Big Little Book Award, which seeks to promote reading among children. The awards, which are to be announced on November 17, the first day of the Tata Literature Live! Mumbai LitFest 2016, will be given to an author and an illustrator. The shortlist for the latter category is pan-Indian and includes Atanu Ray, Nina Sabnani and Proiti Roy. The author shortlist, on the other hand, is designed to focus on a single language each year and in its inaugural year, is felicitating two stalwarts of Marathi literature for children — Madhuri Purandare and Rajiv Tambe. Read more