The Big Little Book Award is inviting nominations for the third edition of the award that recognizes and honours significant contribution of Indian authors and illustrators to children’s literature. Every year, one Indian language is chosen for awarding an author. The language for 2018 is Kannada. Authors with extensive work in children’s literature in Kannada are eligible for nomination. The award for illustrator is not language specific and nominations can come from across languages. The nomination process will close August 5, 2018.
One of the goals of BLBA is to bring regional language literature to the forefront. Children's literature in Kannada has a rich history and is thriving but does not find place in mainstream discussions.
The Big Little Book Award aims to create a platform for young readers, parents, schools, publishers and other stakeholders to meet and read the work of authors/illustrators. The goal is to ensure every child experiences the joys of reading and reading good children’s books.
In its inaugural year, 2016, the awards for contributions to Children’s Literature in Marathi went to Madhuri Purandre and that for illustration across languages was awarded to Atanu Roy. In 2017, the author award went to Ms. Nabaneeta Dev Sen for her contribution to Bengali children’s literature and the illustrator award went to Ms. Proiti Roy.
Last year, a series of events were conducted by Parag across the country. This included book discussions with children in libraries, workshops with children by children’s authors and illustrators, panel discussions with students of art and design and story reading sessions. Parag also launched the Big Little Book Talk, a series of talks across different cities on children’s authors (in the chosen language of the year) and illustrators, to extend the discourse around Indian children’s literature. BLBA also collaborates with major literary festivals to advocate for children’s literature in Indian languages and create multiple platforms for children’s authors and illustrators to present their work and thoughts.
“People are curious now. All these years they were not aware that illustration is also an important aspect to children's literature,” shared Roy. “Acknowledging illustration as a profession has made a difference not only to the illustrators but also to the profession. Children's literature is so much a part of children's education, social behaviour and of their growing up. It becomes serious when people are more sensitive about it," she said.
“The BLBA will definitely make a difference and bring the children's books author into the mainstream. This is the need of the hour and will infuse new blood into children's literature in Kannada,” said Prathibha Nandakumar, author and BLBA jury member. “BLBA in general is significant because it gives an impetus to children's literature nationwide, including the regional languages... In Kannada the BLBA will play a significant role undoubtedly,” she added.
Nandkumar said she was both eager and curious about the nomination process as is the first time such an initiative was taking place in Kannada for children’s literature.
“Even for adult literature we don’t have this kind of nomination. It is new and hence is causing both excitement and anxiety. I am aware of the big task of reaching out to the nooks and corners of the State getting the Kannada children’s book readers to nominate,” she said.
The BLBA also aims to get selected works of the award winning author translated into other languages.
“We are translating two of Nabaneeta Dev Sen’s stories from Bengali to English and Hindi to enable a larger audience to access her work. The idea is to promote the work of these award winning authors in as many languages as possible,” said Swaha Sahoo, head of the Parag initiative of Tata Trusts.
The ‘Big Little Book Award’ has been instituted by the Parag initiative of Tata Trusts and ‘Literature Live!’ It recognises 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. More information can be accessed at http://biglittlebookaward.in