Jarul Book Award is the only award in India that gives voice and choice to children. Students from Kindergarten to Standard Five is given a chance to read and vote for the best book. They choose, analyze and critically appreciate by selecting the best picture books based on several criteria. Here is the 2017-18 Jarul Book Award Winner.
India has some great outstanding awards like the Jnanpith Award, Sahitya Akademi Awards with different categories and Hindu Literary Awards. Each of these national awards acknowledges works of authors, illustrators, and publishers whose passion lies in bringing out the best literature for readers. Indian culture has a plethora of folklore, fables, and mythology. It is only recently in the last decade; private organizations have established literary awards to inspire, acknowledge, appreciate different genres as well as give voice to authors with new ideas. Many awards like the Jarul Book Award, Crossword Award, Big Little Book Award, and the Hindu Young Book Awards are among the few that acknowledge creative thinking and celebrate Indian Literature. Thanks to publishers like Karadi Tales, Tulika, Fingerprint, Katha, Little Latitude and others. Times of India covered this story and helped support Jarul Award.
Today’s children whether they are in cities, towns, and villages are open-minded, they are thinkers, and they need good literature to inspire them in our modern setting. Our story must not be like that of Chimamanda Adichie – The Danger of a Single Story where she believed that her stories she wrote must only have “western characters” and there was no room for characters like herself in Literature. We must create an open environment for our children to explore, dream, write and share their world beyond folklore, mythology or stories that must have a moral at the end.
Encouraging our children to write and share their experiences will only help create empathy and friendships among different ideologies and different cultures. Deccan Herald writes about Obama’s Town Hall visit, where a transgender, who is marginalized, asked what she could do to stop stigmatization. He said, ” The change begins with finding your voice, and you must be able to articulate your views and your experiences, to tell your story, and that is true for any group, marginalized, stigmatized.” Obama said, ” finding the voice and being able to tell that story leads to breaking down of perceptions that “you are different”. Because then people will start to “recognize their own experiences in you.”
Reading picture books and giving children opportunities to write, expressing their experiences and sharing them, bring respect, empathy and most of all friendships. I like what Voltaire said, ” Writing is the painting of the voice.” Let’s give our students an opportunity to express their world through their eyes. Check out the Jarul Book Award Website to empower your students.