'Halum is my favourite, because the tiger can talk just like me'
With the second last Shishu Prohor (special hours dedicated to children) of this year's Amar Ekushey Book Fair on Friday, the weekly holiday, the fair premises saw a massive turnout of children.
The month-long book fair was a source of entertainment for children as they gathered at the Shishu Chattar on the East side of Suhrawardy Udyan from 11am to 1pm every Friday and Saturday.
Popular characters of Sisimpur (the Bangladeshi version of the children's television series Sesame Street) welcomed the children at the "Children's Zone." Kids were excited to see Halum, Iqri and Tuktuki who performed skits and interacted with the children on the Sisimpur stage during Shishu Prohor.
Ritu Moni, a seven-year-old girl told Dhaka Tribune that she loves dancing with Halum and Iqri.
“Halum is my favourite, because the tiger can talk just like me. Today Halum said to me, hello little angel," she said with smiles on her face.
Ayesha Khanom, who brought her child to the fair, thanked the organizing committee of the fair for this arrangement made especially for children where they can spend joyful moments with their favourite cartoon characters.
“Books are attractive for them, but in this concrete city, interacting with favorite characters can also make them comfortable,” she added.
Labib Ryhan, a sixth grader, said he visited the fair to grab his favourite thriller, comic and detective story books.
“I grabbed Goyenda Gogoner Joto Adventure by Ahsan Habib and The Nest of Spider by Dibakor Das. My father also bought five rhymes books for my younger sister, a three-year-old. I will read the rhymes to her once we arrive home,” he said.
Salespersons at different stalls said most kids aged between 3-8 years like poems and colourful story books while some like children's adventure and thriller stories. But cartoon books are all-time favourites, they added.
Publisher of Adee Prokashon Sajid Ahmed told Dhaka Tribune that they have published a variety of thrillers, translation detective stories and fiction books, targeting children between four to 18 years of age.
“The last two days of book fair are Shishu Prohor, and many visited the fair this weekend. But there would be more visitors if there were parking spaces,” he said.
Ali Imam, a Bangladeshi children's writer said books play an important role in a child's brain development.
“The dedicated children hour (Shishu Prohor) and 'Children's Zone' creates an opportunity for them to choose their own books easily," he said.
He hopes that Shishu Prohor will help children get more acquainted with books and raise their interest towards books. Children will benefit more if the world of books is introduced to them in school, he added.
The last Shishu Prohor would be held on Saturday, the concluding day of this year's Amar Ekushey Book Fair 2020.