books The Storyteller bookstore marked the end of 2021

A sudden idea to stroke the nostalgic heart in 2018, led to the creation of bonfire evenings in the cozy and independent Storyteller bookstore in Picnic Garden. The idea was to bring back the school party that made all the students look forward to it all year round. Acting as a perfect throwback to these annual school events, attending the 2018 Bonfire Night for Kids surprised founding owners Mayura and her son Aman Misra. There were a few games to keep the kids entertained, but the highlight was simple storytelling sessions sitting around the fire. While Covid put other plans on hold, this year Bonfire Night was back at the Storyteller bookstore and it was only bigger and better this time around. With nearly 40 people in attendance at the event held on December 18, the storytelling session was led by Kavita Gupta.

By making every effort this year to reproduce the school holidays, other games have been introduced to keep the little ones busy throughout the evening. The games included Ring Toss, Cancan, and Tail the Donkey to name a few. Along with the Christmas titles on display that the bookstore has been collecting since October, Christmas carols were also an important part of the sunset evening. Food and drink stalls served hot momos and fries to the kids as we caught parents having just as much, if not more, fun!

On a cold Mussoorie evening, Ruskin Bond tapped into Zoom for an interactive session with toddlers at the Storyteller bookstore to discuss his new book The Tunnel. Having written extensively during the pandemic, he managed to release three new titles this year! Speaking about The Tunnel, he said, “It’s not a new story, but it’s a story I had written many years ago. However, Puffin’s editors believed it deserved to be converted into a chapter book. So I edited it and here we are! Beautifully illustrated, this little novel in its new avatar is already running out of copies at the bookstore. Bond has always paid great attention to illustrations that illuminate his stories, going so far as to say that some of his books only come to life with them. “While the illustrations are great, a book cover is also important, even for an adult book! Especially with a new writer, a bookstore browser will judge the book by the image. I’m a visual writer anyway, and before I write a story, I see it in my head like a movie. It is then only a question of putting it into words. The visual element is already there and for young readers, I appreciate the little details that we add in terms of illustrations, ”he summed up.

Bond spoke of his keen eye for observation which allowed him to blossom into a writer of his unimaginable stature – – “a necessary quality for any writer”. He also spoke about the coveted notebook he uses to jot down interesting thoughts and moments that he knows could later develop into a story or novel. In all of the sessions with Bond, the one thing you can’t miss is his love for children. Whether playing pranks on his math teacher or reminiscing about old tech like radio, Bond has taken a nostalgic journey with the little ones in attendance. As they brandished all of their copies of The Tunnel, their love for the great old man from the hills also shone on the screens!

About Joey J. Hott

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