On September 24, 2016, 16Leaves conducted its first book launch event unveiling 10 publication written by children and young adult authors. A momentous occasion, it was attended by children and their families, representatives from schools, media personnel and others.
Three special chief guests were present to preside over the event. Rohini Molleti, an accomplished personality in the world of cinema who is also an activist for AIDS awareness. Aysha Rau, a famous personality in the field of performing arts who is the founder and managing trustee of The Little Theatre. Janaki Sabesh, a media professional who has featured in many films and advertisements and heads the digital cinema–marketing at Real Image. She is a trained storyteller who associates with several brands to do workshops with children, parents and institutions.
It was a proud evening for children and their parents when the books were launched by the chief guests. Some of the children spoke to the audience detailing their inspiration and motivation to write and how they managed to accomplish the task. Every one present was taken by surprise at the spirit and confidence that the young authors displayed. Each one is clearly passionate and has a lot to contribute artistically and creatively. It was wonderful to see that not only are parents and teachers aware of this, but are completely supportive of the fact that children’s works should be displayed to the world through platforms such as 16 Leaves.
Inumerable talents and unique ways of expressing them, the chief guests opined on how they see such an initiative. Rohini Molleti cited a personal experience with her son who loved to draw. She said that had 16 Leaves been available then, she would definitely have brought her child’s work for publishing. She stated that children are extremely attentive and adapt quickly. If they are encouraged at the right time, they may do wonders. Sometimes, the education system may shackle them too much to allow for creative expression. But parents must always let them fly and reach new heights.
Aysha Rau also had a lovely take on the subject. Her theatre for children and young adults is a field for creative expression that gives children a way to become confident and suppress inhibitions. They also receive a much needed break for studies. She believes that children must grow up in a mixed environment. Apart from academia, they must engage in cultural programs, sports and other forms of learning. This stimulates both sides of their brain and unlocks hidden potential. Her own children are examples of this. They were enrolled in at least 2 cultural classes as kids and were exposed to many areas of sports and artistic pursuits. No wonder they are both expert sailors who represent India apart from having several other achievements to their credit.
Janaki Sabesh is a multi-talented media professional. She is not just active in business with Real Image, but also engages in cinema and storytelling. Her storytelling workshops are becoming increasingly famous with the children and parents community. She says that children’s imagination is a world of magic and mystery. We may see everything as it is, but children perceive the simplest of things in the most imaginative ways. It is wondrous and awe-inspiring to see how their brain works. Dreams are where everything takes life. Children should be allowed to dream and she encourages parents to let them nap a little while longer so they can complete their dreams. She notes that it is important to discuss dreams and analyze them, an activity that she had the privilege of doing as a child with her father.
Seeing how a simple book launch for children can reveal important messages in nurturing them is wonderful. It is also impressive that so many people are accepting of this novel idea and ready to promote it. The event was definitely an eye-opener for all those who engage with children in one way or another.
Written by – Radhika Pillai