Reading is the best possible activity for children. It’s constructive, creative and keeps young minds active and alert. This is to say the least, though. I’ve written about the joys of reading and raising a reader earlier in my post Raising A Reader. My passion for reading is undying so imagine my joy at discovering Book Explorers – a kids’ reading club.
Initiated by two friends, Subhadra and Senjuti, both young mums themselves, this is a very unique hobby avenue. The founders have always been on the same page, regarding the need to inculcate a reading habit in the younger generation. Having observed how reading is losing its presence as a hobby due to various screen media; it bothered both of them. So they have been focussing on children who are independent readers till 12 years of age. Research shows that reading as a hobby is best developed by the age of 12, says team Book Explorers.
Started two years ago in Kandivali and running very successfully there, Book Explorers (BE) is looking to start sessions in Goregaon east too.
I caught up with the Book Explorers duo and here’s all that I have to share with you.
GHP Mumbai: When and how did Book Explorers start? Tell me your story
Book Explorers: We (Subhadra and Senjuti) have been friends since we were teenagers. Reading is an important part of our lives. However, as stay-at-home (and hands-on) mothers, we struggle to keep up with our ever-expanding reading lists. When we met again after more than a decade, we started talking about starting a venture, preferably something to do with books. Initially, the plan was to start a book club for women or mothers.
We used to meet up frequently with our husbands. On one such occasion, when the idea of the book club came up, Senjuti’s husband presumed that it was a book club for children. Instantly the idea took hold for us. We did a lot of brainstorming over the next few weeks and came up with a format for the book club. Parents showed a lot of interest and a pilot session was conducted. On 19 November 2016, Book Explorers held its first session in Kandivali East with three children as members.
GHP Mumbai: Tell me a little about yourselves, your passions and loves.
Senjuti Bishi: I have an MA in Economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. I’ve worked for 3.5 years in the banking sector. A mother of two (a 9-year-old and a 5-year-old), I decided to be a full-time mother so that I could play an active role in my children’s development. I’m known to be naturally gregarious; I have a vibrant social life and love dramatics, singing songs of Tagore, and swimming.
Subhadra Roy Patil: I have a PhD in Geography from Queen Mary, University of London. I worked briefly as an innovation consultant with a Bengaluru-based company but soon realised that it was taking me away from my 5-year old. You will usually find me with a book. When not reading, I am making notes about the books I am reading or working on my first novel. I enjoy waking up at dawn to enjoy some quiet reading time with a cup of tea.
GHP Mumbai: What makes Book Explorers so unique and appealing for children?
Book Explorers: We continuously strive to expose children to various genres of books apart from classics; like sci-fi, fantasy, history, drama, poetry. We, as young children, had missed out on such a variety; we try to give them as much as possible, including translation and contemporary children’s literature.
For children, impact of any book can be increased by hands-on activities. Thus every session ends with activities based on the book being read – be it a costume party, skit, word vocab games like Pictionary, or craft.
GHP Mumbai: What are your future plans? Will BE host more reading clubs for younger children?
Book Explorers: We do have plans of hosting reading classes for children between 5 and 7 years of age. But for them the modus operandi will be different. Also, we are planning to expand our base to Goregaon East.
GHP Mumbai: How have parents reacted and testified to your Book Explorers session? Could you share some reviews with us?
Book Explorers: Sure. Here are very heartening words from BE parents –
Book Explorers has helped my son to improve his language and vocabulary skill a lot. Both Senjuti and Subhadra have vast knowledge of English books. Their selection of books encourages kids to read more and more books. Also, he has learnt other skills like origami, painting and other crafts from their various other activities.
I had sent my son to the Book Explorers just to keep him engaged. But soon I discovered that he has started liking it so much that he makes it a point to attend the session come what may. He is ready to forgo all other activities to join the class. Also, his reading habit, vocabulary, pronunciation have improved a lot. He really cherishes to be a part of the gang.
Book Explorers has been one of the interesting ways in which my daughter is spending time for the past one year. The range of books introduced to kids makes them more imaginative.
A part of session provides info on personalities and gives insight in the life of legends across the world.
Then is the art/games/craft time which is one of the ways to help keep their interest running in these sessions.
Address in Kandivali: Gundecha Valley of Flowers, Thakur Village, Kandivali East (4.22 mi) Get Directions
Address in Goregaon east: TBD
Call: 091588 89495 | Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bookexplorers/