Mumbai /Kolkata, June 6 : The Parag initiative of Tata Trusts today announced the 'Big Little Book Award' and invited nominations, in collaboration with the Mumbai Lit Fest.
The award, a first of its kind in India, has been instituted to recognize and honour significant contribution of Indian authors and illustrators to childrens literature.
The winners will be announced at the 2016 Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai Litfest. The Big Little Book Award will be awarded in two categories one for author and the other for illustrator or artist.
Childrens literature and books have been a neglected category in Indian publishing, with a handful of publishers striving to publish stories that reflect the multicultural and multilingual world that children grow up in today.
The Big Little Book Award will recognise 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.
In its first edition, the Big Little Book Award seeks nominations from publishers, librarians, academicians and experts. The nomination process is open till 30th June 2016 and nomination forms can be filled and submitted online at http://biglittlebookaward.in/
In literature, illustrations can tell a story or add several layers to the text. Illustrations need to have humour and fun because children enjoy that the most. At the same time they need to address social biases, champion values of sustainable development, equality of gender, caste and religion and break stereotypes, said Swaha Sahoo, who leads the Parag Initiative.
Many of us grew up reading Western authors and Russian books. But today, childrens publishing in India is vibrant and active. We have stories from across the country, young characters that speak to children and reflect our sensibilities and struggles. Childhood in books is not foreign anymore, said Sahoo.
At Parag our aim is to spread the joys of reading. The awards are an attempt to acknowledge the original and sensitive stories that have been written, illustrated and published and to encourage many more, she added.
The award will be hosted by Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai Litfest. Anil Dharkar, founder and festival director feels the Big Little Book Award adds the missing dimension to the popular Literature festival.
Due to a variety of reasons, childrens book publishing in India still lags woefully behind in the overall publishing scene. It was this thought which made Tata Trusts come up with the idea of these awards. We at Literature Live! Welcomed the idea immediately and agreed to make it part of our annual literary festival, Dharkar said.