Little did I know that when I picked up the Golden Classic ‘I Can Fly‘ by Ruth Krauss at the Just Books Library, I would some day be doing a reading workshop with 3 to 6-year-olds at Just Books, Yelahanka.
The credit rests squarely on Ruth Krauss’s eternal proclamation of independence and freedom for little children the world over, her book ‘I Can Fly’. She lives on in her words and inspires generation after generation to believe that they can be pretty much what they set their minds to. ‘ I can play I’m anything that’s anything. That’s MY way.” Imagine a child who has this engraved in her/his mind and heart and you know the world is going to be a happier place.
Watch a child play and soon you will see princes’, teachers, pirates, chefs, crocodiles, tigers, trees one morphing seamlessly into the other all in the course of free play. ‘I Can Fly’ captures that imagination of a child and celebrates it.
Greater parental attention often translates into fewer flights of imagination. In an attempt to get little readers and parents interested in the many treasures at the library, Little Kulture and Just Books, Yelahanka joined hands to conduct the ‘I Can Fly’ workshop. The support of Lata Kale, owner at Just Books Yelahanka and the very enthusiastic Sahana Anand at the front desk got me started on the workshop.
An imagination tunnel was made ( the magic of a decorated cardboard box are too many to enumerate), and papers kept ready to capture some great artwork (the children’s impression after reading I Can Fly).
On September 12 at 5 p.m the little participants started trooping in, parents in tow. They looked around curiously at all of us adults who were waiting to interact with them. Once most participants had come in, parents kindly lurked behind adjoining bookshelves. Nisha our youngest participant refused to leave the comfort of her mum’s lap.
The story telling commenced, and soon we were mooing like cows, discussing flying cows at home, hooting like owls, pecking like chicks and altogether almost as merry if not merrier than a terrier. Little Samhita, beautiful rose on her head intact, rested her arm on me and Anusha decided to drape her arm around my shoulder, much to my delight.
Soon we started the imagination tunnel activity, which excited Nisha enough to leave her mum. Soon little bodies were wriggling in and out of the tunnel. I expected the children to come out and enact who they imagined themselves to be. They, on the other hand, had other ideas. They liked the tunnel so much they were all doing rounds in and out of the tunnel.
The group settled down to do artwork. If Tejaswini thought of fans, little Swati imagined herself to be beautifully coloured cups. Ushana was the most adorable spotted puppy while Samhita’s very colourful abstract art turned out to be a tiger! Dhyan was a caterpillar who sat within reach of a juicy leaf, while Diya was a flower in a garden. The crayon box found itself raided thoroughly.
Another story was read and all the lovely books in the kids section given a good look-over. Clearly, the workshop had done wonders, since some young readers had speed-read their way through two to four books in just a few minutes!
Finally, when the workshop came to a close the participants and organisers bid each other fond farewells and hoped to meet again. Indeed we will, in that happy place where readers and books meet happily – the library.
Photo credits: Neha Sahajwani