In an effort to ease children's loneliness during the pandemic, International Publishers Association (IPA), World Health Organization (WHO) and Unicef have collaborated on an initiative called #ReadTheWorld series, for which children's literature authors are holding virtual reading sessions for kids all around the world. Bangladeshi authors Nazia Jabeen and Banhi Bepari took part in the initiative through Dhaka's Mayurpankhi publishing house.
Banhi Bepari, an author and education facilitator, performed the series' first reading in Bangla, with an excerpt from her illustrated children's book Megher Kol e Rod Eshechhe. Illustrated by Manob Golder, the story portrays the interaction between clouds and the sun. "The experience was wonderful because I got to read the book in Bangla," the author told The Daily Star.
Nazia Jabeen, Founder of Sporsho Braille Foundation, offered the second Bangla reading with an excerpt of her debut children's book By the Seashore (Sagor Teere), illustrated by Moumita Sikder and published by Mayurpankhi in 2019. The book explores the underwater world of mermaids, starfish, prawns, and their friends who play to create ripples on a seashore.
"[We need to] let children shine through their own knowledge, allow them to learn through fun and not through force," the author told The Daily Star, discussing the inspiration behind the book.
The psycho-social effects of prolonged isolation and social distancing are likely to be particularly critical for young minds. The #ReadTheWorld series hopes to tackle this crisis by offering a gateway of stories for children. Given the global scale of the initiative — with stories ranging from India and France to Sierra Leon, Lebanon, and more — a child tuning in from Bangladesh can follow the hashtag and open themselves up to a whole range of stories from across the world. Language can pose a barrier since each author is reading in their own language, but stories in English are also available in the series.
For more book-related news, read follow fb.com/DailyStarBooks, @thedailystarbooks on Instagram, and @DailyStarBooks on Twitter.