It's that time of the year again!
Saffron Tree's annual festival, CROCUS:Celebrating Reading Of Culturally Unique Stories, is a four-day long joy-ride of fantastic books and interviews shared by our contributors on a specific theme or topic, to foster the love of reading in children.
I am happy to be a part of this vibrant community of individual contributors who have all come together through their love for children's books and passion for fostering early childhood literacy and developing a lifelong fondness for reading in children.
Many of the contributors are authors of children's books, powerful storytellers in their communities who reach out to the underprivileged and offer this simple joy of entering into a book for the pleasure of it.
Being an admin for Saffron Tree blog (ST, for short) has been the best volunteer-job for me so far, not just because I get to hobnob with my talented and generous pals and talk about all my favorite children's books, but because I get to reach so many people across the globe through the simple act of sharing a good book.
While Saffron Tree Blog is nine years old, this is our 7th CROCUS, and the theme is Comics and Graphic Novels -- a genre that is oft-neglected and gets very little exposure. I grew up with Amar Chithra Katha comics, plus assorted Phantom, Steel Claw, Zorro and so on, and it was considered legitimate "reading". The right kind of graphic novels and comics can attract reluctant readers, getting them interested in entering the fictional world, rather than be intimidated by stark pages filled with words.
Having an incredibly talented illustrator with her own popular comic strip, plus a couple of passionately skilled artists in the mix at ST, I love peeking into their works and learning from them. Hop over to Saffron Tree to read the various posts on graphic novels and comics over the next few days.
Back in 2009, when we started this annual celebration, the theme was Around the World. It was a vague idea we had and wanted to cram as many books on the topic as possible to share with our readers at ST.
2010: A Cultural Odssey had us thinking about what Culture means in this increasingly global world and how to preserve it and celebrate it.
Our 2011: A Tribute to the Five Elements gave us a chance to understand the five universal elements - Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Space. - and their roles in shaping our lives.
2012: A Menage of Math and Eco-Science came about as a means to remove any stigma attached to Mathematics, to find accessible books that make learning math fun. Plus, to balance it, we added eco-science to get the little minds thinking globally and caring for our Earth.
In 2013: Migration and Exploration takes us back to our ancient roots and travels through time to present day: We looked at animal and human migration and our boundless energy for exploration that led to the moon landing and Mars rovers - things that only we, humans, continue to do because we are not happy staying put.
2014: Prehistoric Life and Ancient Civilization: Civilizations are works in progress. If we don’t know what happened in the past, how can we move towards the future? We need knowledge of history in every aspect of our lives – science, sports, fashion, communications, engineering...
Bookmark www.saffrontree.org and visit it as often as possible, especially over the next few days to join in the CROCUS fun!
Kids and I had a fantastic time reading over three dozen graphic novels and comics over the last 3 months in order to prepare for this year's theme. Even though only a handful of those books resonated with us, it was an eye-opening experience, especially to realize how few graphic novels are out there for kids. Over the next several days, I'll be cross-posting graphic novels here that was reviewed especially for ST's CROCUS 2015.