Thousands of children have thronged the yearly book fair everyday to buy books
Amid a festive atmosphere and overwhelming participation of children, the Amar Ekushey Book Fair-2020 has turned into a children's paradise at Suhrawardy Udyan in the capital Dhaka.
Bangla Academy organized the ‘children’s zone’ while Sisimpur, a multimedia educational initiative on early childhood development, set up the ‘Kids Chattar’ to make the month long fair more attractive and jovial for children.
Thousands of children have thronged the yearly book fair everyday to buy books. This year the book fair has attained a new height with the participation of countless young boys and girls alike.
The parents, guardians, writers and publishers all have said emphatically that the book fair can build bridges among children and instill Bangladeshi values, culture and tradition in children.
Earlier on Saturday morning this correspondent of Dhaka Tribune, with camera person Rajib Dhar, visited the book fair and saw an overwhelming number of children present.
322 publishing houses have participated in the book fair this year.
A number of publishers told Dhaka Tribune that: "Children find their favorite books visiting book stalls quite easily. They don't have to move around the entire fair ground in order to pick out their favorite copies."
Zhorna Islam, from Banasree in Rampura, came to the fair with her two children Pitom and Pranto to participate in the Children’s Happy Hour.
Pranto said excitedly: “I talked to Halum of Sisimpur at the Sisimpur Kids stall and bought two books there too!"
"It is the first time I have come to the book fair with my mother and brother Pitom. I love to read 'Thakumar Jhuli,' carry forward drawings, and ghost books. I bought three books."
Zahra Islam said: “The timing of the book fair is very significant this year as it fell very close to the centennial birth anniversary celebration of the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. I try to introduce my children to our writers, culture and history, so that they can grow up with a spirit of Bangla culture."
Nurun Nessa Chowdhury said: "We came here during the first week of the fair. It is the second time we got here. I think it is a great chance to introduce our children especially to our liberation history and Liberation War heroes through various books."
"If we can properly guide our children, we could very well create a new ‘book reading generation’ who would then be able to lead our nation with confidence and resolve."
Noted children's book writer Tahmina Khalil said: "We should focus on children's books so that we can provide children with good writing and literature." She urged her fellow friends and writers to look into the matter.
Seven-year-old Sabrina Jui from Uttara said: "I bought ‘Dealer Likhon’ written by Faridur Reza Sagor and two drawing books."
Jui’s mother Salma Hossain said: "My daughter loves to learn and read about the Liberation War and ghost stories."
Arif Reza, a school teacher from Khilgaon said: "I bought five books from Sisimpur and other books including 'Eshoper Golpo', and 'Chotoder Muktijudhha' for kids."
He believes all parents should bring their children to the fair, so that their children become culturally more responsive and progressive in their world view, he added.
Asked about the motivation behind bringing her children to the fair, Jannatul Shefa said nowadays our children spend their precious time playing video games with mobile and other electronic devices, where they could easily end up visiting adult sites and ruining their innocence. Whereas, the book fair offers them heavenly joy and healthy opportunities, she said.
Appreciating the arrangement of Children's Zone, a resident of South Kafrul in the capital said it has been a source of joy and delight for her child.
She urged the authorities to arrange these types of events only for children at least two or three times a year.
"We are offering interesting interactive books for children. We have created some animation in Bangla by which students can recite poetry and learn about historical places of our country," said Jhingephul Publisher Giasuddin Khasru.
“Children should be the main focus of the book fair, as it is our responsibility to highlight our culture and heritage among the next generation people of the country,” he said.
It is expected that the authorities concerned will ensure that for the remainder of this year's book fair, children’s development, education, and free thinking, the core of Bangabandhu's beliefs, will be upheld and pave the way for a successful 'Mujib Year,' visitors told Dhaka Tribune.