29 June, 2024

Celebrating excellence in Indian literature for children, Tata Trusts’ Parag Initiative unveils the 5th edition of the Parag Honour List and announces the Big Little Book Award winner for Illustration at Parag Utsav 2024

New Delhi, 29 June, 2024: Parag, an initiative of the Tata Trusts dedicated to fostering a culture of reading among children, hosted the Parag Utsav on June 29, 2024 at the India International Centre in New Delhi. The Parag Utsav was a convergence of creativity and commitment towards showcasing best of Indian children’s literature. It provided a distinguished platform to unveil the fifth edition of their annually curated Parag Honour List and to confer the Big Little Book Award 2024 (Illustration) for significant contribution to Indian children’s literature. These prestigious accolades recognize and commend the remarkable contributions of authors, illustrators, and publishers in redefining the tapestry of children’s literature.

Amrita Patwardhan, Head of Education, Tata Trusts remarks, “The Trusts believe in the power of stories and good books as an integral part of childhood. Children’s books enable the building of strong foundational literacy skills on one hand, while on the other, they open up ways to make sense of the complex world around them. Access to high-quality, engaging storybooks in Indian languages is central to laying the foundations of critical thinking and lifelong learning. Our support for the development and dissemination of children’s books in multiple Indian languages, the activation of school and community libraries, professional development courses for teachers and librarians, and recognition through awards is part of a larger vision to build a nation where every child has access to and the opportunity to embrace the joy of reading.”

This year’s Parag Honour List features 28 books in English and 13 books in Hindi, carefully handpicked from a pool of 258 submissions. The Parag Honour List, spanning diverse themes and genres, undergoes a thorough year-long evaluation by a panel of esteemed literary experts. Only the finest offerings in Indian literature for children and young adults make the final cut. The list provides a much needed and well-deserved recognition to the work of publishers while acting as a compass, guiding children, parents, and teachers towards quality children’s literature.

Celebrating excellence in Indian literature for children, Tata Trusts’ Parag Initiative

The jury for English books comprised of Mini Shrinivasan, Sahitya Akademi awardee, Samina Mishra, acclaimed documentary filmmaker, writer, and teacher, and Thejaswi Shivanand, library educator at Champaca Children’s Library, while Arun Kamal, Poet and Essayist, Prachi Kalra, Associate Professor, Gargi College, Delhi University, and Malvika Rai, Literary Coach, Shiv Nadar School constituted the jury for Hindi books. “Being a part of the selection process has been a journey of discovery and appreciation. I've had the privilege of diving into a treasure trove of original and engaging works, from picture books to young adult reads, each offering a unique perspective and a window into different cultures. This list is more than just books; it is a roadmap for cultivating a vibrant literary landscape tailored to the needs and interests of young readers” adds Prachi Kalra.

Celebrating excellence in Indian literature for children, Tata Trusts’ Parag Initiative

The Big Little Book Award, a first-of-its-kind award, lauds the craftsmanship and ingenuity of authors and illustrators for their significant contribution to Indian children’s literature and inspiring young readers to delve into the realms of wonder and exploration through their exemplary storytelling. This year, the coveted award for Illustration was presented to Suddhasattwa Basu, who imbues life into the written word with delicately balanced strokes and colours, manifesting vivid illustrations that resonate deeply with children.

Born in 1956, Basu has designed and illustrated over 60 books, extensively showcasing his artistic prowess in works such as Khushwant Singh’s Delhi Through the Seasons, Ruskin Bond’s To Live in Magic, and Vijaya Sulaiman’s The Homecoming, and others. Furthermore, he has authored and illustrated several highly acclaimed picture books for children, such as The Song of a Scarecrow (2003), Whatever You Give (2009), Ravan Remedy (2013), and Chandernagor – A Burg of the Moon (2022).

Celebrating excellence in Indian literature for children, Tata Trusts’ Parag Initiative

Reflecting on the win, Suddhasattwa Basu said “Receiving this award has strengthened my conviction in the transformative power of storytelling through art. I am profoundly honored by this recognition, as it has not only invigorated me personally but inspired others in the ecosystem to captivate young minds with their creative endeavors.”

This year, Parag's collaboration with IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) represents a significant milestone in expanding access to narratives that complement books for children and youth. The collaboration opens doors for diverse voices and stories from India to shine on an international stage. Winners of the Big Little Book Award can access the platform of the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award, while the select books recognized on the Parag Honour List may have opportunity to feature in the IBBY Honour List. Bringing together key stakeholders in the children’s literature ecosystem, Parag takes essential strides towards fostering culture of reading.

Scan here to access the Parag Honour List 2024
Scan here to access the Parag Honour List 2024

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The Tata Trusts' Parag initiative focuses on promoting children's literature and reading habits in India. It supports the creation of quality children's books in various Indian languages, enhances library systems, and trains educators. The Parag Honour List is a curated collection of outstanding books in English and in Hindi, for children and young adults, by the Parag Initiative. This list, published annually, comprises noteworthy books of the year with brief information about each title. It has been created with careful screening and multiple reviews by experts in the children’s literature sector. The list aims to promote access to a comprehensive curated list of good quality children’s literature that librarians, teachers, parents and children can refer to and read. Parag Honour List was first launched in January 2020 at the New Delhi World Book Fair.

The Big Little Book Award was instituted by Parag to recognize and honour significant contribution of authors and illustrators to children’s literature in Indian language(s). Instituted since 2016, the award is given under two categories –author and illustrator/artist. Every year, one Indian language is chosen for awarding an author. Authors writing extensively for children in English but not limited to it are eligible for nomination. The award for illustrator is not language specific and nominations can come from across languages. 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.
Since inception in 1892, Tata Trusts, India’s oldest philanthropic organisation, has played a pioneering role in bringing about an enduring difference in the lives of the communities it serves. Guided by the principles and the vision of proactive philanthropy of the Founder, Jamsetji Tata, the Trusts’ purpose is to catalyse development in the areas of health, nutrition, education, water, sanitation and hygiene, livelihood, digital transformation, migration and urban habitat, social justice and inclusion, environment and energy, skill development, sports, and arts and culture. The Trusts’ programmes, achieved through direct implementation, partnerships and grant making, are marked by innovations relevant to the country.

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Rachita Ghose


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