Bookaroo 2014

We bring you a report from two Duckbill Gangstas, brothers Ishaan and Vivaan Singh, aged thirteen and eleven respectively.

Every year, Bookaroo is held over the last weekend of November. Every year its visitors increase, with 41,000 visitors last year. Ever year when it gets over, I get impatient, waiting for it to come again. This year it took place at IGNCA in Delhi. The sessions that I attended were …


I kickstarted the day by attending Oliver Phommavanh’s session. He recounted many comical incidents from his childhood, (like when he threw up on a roller coaster and ended up splattering the person behind him!), and gave everyone tips on how to write humour. Next up was ‘The Infinity Adventures’ with Anuradha Majumdar. Anuradha told us about her new book, The Infinity Papers.

After that I went to Keeping Secrets with Himanjali Sankar and Payal Dhar. This was a very secretive session! We discussed secrets and also wrote some down. I couldn’t think of any secret! No lie! Oh, and I love Talking of Muskaan. And I have a signed copy of the book! Slightly Burnt is next on my list.

Next, I went to a story-telling session with Kshama Sharma. Kshama was not able to come, so my mother, Tanu Shree Singh, took up this session! It was a really fun event! We heard stories, made characters and wrote stories. I’m not biased, and she didn’t bribe me to insert this bit.

Lastly, I went for Historically Hilarious with Natasha Sharma. Even though I felt odd here, because of my age, it was awesome! Natasha Sharma was hilarious. We talked about pirates and goat droppings! The session was filled with Aargh’s and Aarghetty’s. And, a mix of candies and kids always leads to good stuff.


The day began with ‘How to make a movie script from a book’ with Arunava Sinha. Arunava Sinha is a very funny man. We even made a sample script involving sleeping parents and ice buckets. Next up was Unforgotten with Tohby Riddle. During this session, master illustrator Tohby Riddle told us about himself and his book. His illustrations were awesome!

Next I went to Testing Times with Samit Basu. The next hour was filled with nonstop laughter thanks to his brilliant sense of humour. He and the audience recounted their school lives. Chalk Eating teachers and students who jump off canteen roofs made sure that everyone stayed hooked. And we talked about The Adventures of Stoob, one of my favourite books.

In the end I went to Cosmic Capers with George and Lucy. This was easily one of the best! Lucy Hawking talked about outer space, her life, and her family. This session was filled with amazing pictures and funny videos. I even got to hear Stephen Hawking’s voice. How cool is that!

Well, another Bookaroo has gone by, with content children waiting for the next year. There were many books bought and even more signed. 364 days to go …

[Ishaan Singh, aged 13]

The two weeks leading up to Bookaroo can be torturous for readers and non-readers alike. You start counting the days. Life is S.L.O.W. But the two days of Bookaroo totally make up for it. I mean, how many kids book festivals have authors take sessions, huh?! In fact, how many children’s book festivals are there?


I kicked off the day with Arefa Tehsin. She told us about her time in the jungles and unravelled myths of nature like if the elephant bird really existed, or do tigers drink blood. I had an awesome time!

Then, I went to Arunava Sinha’s session. He is a master comedian besides being a great writer. Right from the start, he had us clutching our sides. He told us about the adventures of Harshavardhan and Gobardhan a.k.a Gobra from his book.

Towards the evening I went for Lucy Hawking’s session, in which she talked about physics and outer space. AND I actually got to hear Stephen Hawking’s voice. We also watched a funny space football video. When I read Lucy Hawking’s book, it made me want wonder about the secrets of the universe, and be a cosmologist when I grow up.

Day 1 comes to an end. Darn! Half of Bookaroo is over.


Phew. I’ve calmed down enough to tell you about my last day at Bookaroo (sob!). I started the day with Rui Sousa. We went from Greenland to Paris to London to Portugal and back, with Hoomi (aboard an iceberg).

Next, I went to Archit Taneja’s sleuthing session. He was too funny for words and taught us everything there is to learn about sleuthing. Archit taught us to use all our senses when looking for clues, but cautioned us against using the sense of taste on people. Ew. He even gave us pointers on stealing paintings. Oh my Glob! I also got a code wheel, and he called us his minions. Told you, funny guy.

Samit Basu’s session was next on my list. He asked the kids and adults to speak about a horrible/weird/boring teacher. I told about my temporary teacher (I would like to refer to her as anonymous) who picked her nose and ate chalk and some more incidents I would not like to mention here, lest somebody gets ideas. Guess what, I’m in his next book! Yay!

Afternoon saw me at Oliver Phommovanh’s session, which was ultra-funny. He did a really good impersonation of a weird guy who said, “Hi, my name is Bob. Your head looks like an egg. Can I lick it?” One of the best sessions of the day.

The last session was with Gabrielle Wang. She told us some of her childhood stories, and that she’s even gone to a witch’s house! Awesome! She also taught us how to draw Peng, a mythical Chinese beast.

Well, that’s that. My favourite time of the year, gone. Poof. Sigh.

[Vivaan Singh, 11 years]


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