Bengaluru, 31st October 2018: The Parag Initiative of Tata Trusts today announced the author shortlist of the third edition of the Big Little Book Awards (BLBA), a first-of-its-kind award that honours the contribution of Indian authors and illustrators to children’s literature.
Each year, BLBA focuses on one Indian language, starting with Marathi, Bengali and now, Kannada as the language of the year. Authors writing extensively for children in Kannada, with significant contribution to literature were eligible for the nominations, whereas awards for illustration were not language-specific.
The short-listed authors for 2018 are Na D’Souza, Nagaraj Shetty, C M Govind Reddy and Nagesh Hegde.
Na D'Souza, born in Sagara, Karnataka, has written over 40 novels, several short stories and plays for children, publishing over 94 books. His novel Mulugadeya Oorige Bandavaru has been awarded Sahitya Academy's Bala Sahitya Puraskar. He has been writing in Kannada for more than three decades and his two novels Dweepa and Kadina Benki were made into motion pictures and won National awards. Some of his works like Dweepahave been translated into English.
T S Nagaraj Shetty’s contributions towards Kannada children's literature is vast. He has written across genres including novels, poems and articles. Some of his books include Sankara, Doora Sarovara, Haavu Kappe Midi and Pranigala Jaatre. He has won several awards including a NCERT award for Chitti Putti, Karnataka Sahitya Academy award for Navilu Gari. His books have been translated into different languages including Hindi. Many of his books have been part of the textbooks including Gutuku Makkala Kavite.
Born in Hubli, former professor C M Govind Reddy has written over 23 stories, poems, articles, and dramas for children. Few of his books include Makkala Mandara, Jadi Male Siridhaanya, Mattondu Mahabhaarata and Bheemana Maducve. He has been given several awards including Makkala Sahitya Pustaka Bahumaana from Karnataka Sahitya Academy and Sangamesha Dattipuraskara from Kannada Sahitya Parishat. Children have accessed his writings through textbooks where several of his stories and articles have been included across different classes.
Science writer, journalist, environmentalist, publisher and professor - Nagesh Hegde is equally committed to language and biodiversity. He has over 40 books on science in Kannada to his credit. His writings in Kannada have become textbook lessons from primary school to various universities in Karnataka. He has received highest awards in journalism and literature including Rajyotsava award. He has been producing magazines, wall papers, posters, books, songs and pamphlets on ecology and environment for children. Plays and stories written by him have been staged in many schools. His scripts have been used in production of two feature films in Kannada.
Speaking on the shortlisted authors, the jury said that each of them are significantly different from each other in terms of style, content and language. While Na D’Souza’s short fictions are placed in Malnad area and introduce the readers to the rich heritage and wild life of Western Ghat, Nagaraja Shetty’s poetry is full of animal world and very appealing to the children. Nagesh Hegde, being an eminent science writer has effectively written about natural sciences and environment for children. Govinda Reddy’s forte is telling stories through poems and his style is very captivating, filled with rhymes that children love. All the short listed authors have sizeable number of books to their credit and are well known for their contribution to children’s literature.
In the run up to the awards, the Parag Initiative hosted a series of introductory storytelling, poetry and art workshops for children. The workshop held two master classes for librarians and teachers to impart knowledge on contemporary topics like ‘What are Good Books?” and “How to select a good book for children and libraries?” both in Kannada and English. Additionally, a panel discussion around Kannada children’s literature, its trends and challenges was discussed among panel members Mr. Kambathalli (Ankita Books, Prof. Sriram (Pratham Books), Ms. Sushmita Makalli (Author), Mr. Shivakumar Yadav (Library Educator, Tata Trusts) and moderated by Ms. Prathibha Nandakumar (Author and BLBA jury member).
On this year’s choice of Kannada as the language for authors, Ms. Swaha Sahoo, who leads the Tata Trusts child literacy initiative, Parag, said, “Outside of the very small number of people who are intimately connected with publishing, most people do not have access to children’s literature written on contemporary yet interesting topics in regional languages. Kannada has a rich body of children’s writing that children outside Karnataka should have access to. BLBA will attempt to bring some translations of the shortlisted authors and enable a larger audience to read their books.”
The ‘Big Little Book Award’ award has been instituted by the Parag initiative of Tata Trusts and Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai Litfest’. It recognises authors and illustrators who have written and illustrated stories that connect with children, make them laugh, encourage them to think, introduce them to new ideas and cultures, are inclusive and balance the traditional with the contemporary. More information can be accessed at http://biglittlebookaward.in/
The winners of the BLBA Author and Illustrator Awards will be announced on the 18th of November 2018 at Tata Lit Live! The Mumbai LitFest.
About Parag Initiative
Parag is an initiative of Tata Trusts aims to spread the joys of reading and make reading a part of every childhood by supporting the development, dissemination and use of children’s literature in Indian languages. The Parag Initiative was launched in 2006-06, recognizing the need for the development of regional children literature and to support the access to this literature to promote reading. Over the past decade, Parag has supported the development of 420 new original stories for children across the age group of 5-16 years. These stories have been published across 9 languages including Hindi, English, Urdu, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Oriya. We have also published in non-mainstream languages such as Mundari, Bhilori, Pawri and Santhali, languages in which children find it impossible to get books. Parag supported books have been read by over 20 million readers in schools, community libraries and homes. Books are available in multiple formats including ePubs, audio, Braille, tactile and animated eBooks.
About Tata Trusts
Since inception in 1892, the Tata Trusts, India’s oldest philanthropic organization, have played a pioneering role in bringing about an enduring difference in the lives of the communities they serve. Guided by the principles and the vision of proactive philanthropy of the Founder, Jamsetji Tata, the Trusts’ purpose is to catalyse development in the areas of healthcare and nutrition, water and sanitation, education, energy, rural upliftment, urban poverty alleviation, and arts, craft and culture. The Trusts’ programmes, achieved through direct implementation, partnerships and grant making, are marked by innovations, relevant to the country. For more information, please visit http://tatatrusts.org/
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