Thousands of cheering children walked along with their guardians wearing colourful dresses, bought their favourite books and sang and danced to enjoy the Amar Ekushey Book Fair to the fullest during the ‘Shishu Prohor’ (hours dedicated to children) on Friday.
This was the third ‘Shishu Prohor’ of this year’s fair which returned to its usual schedule after three years. Earlier, on last Friday and Saturday, children enjoyed the special arrangements made for them from 11:00am to 1:00pm.
Morshedul Islam, a government employee, came to visit the book fair along with his wife and daughter. They cannot visit the fair on working days as his wife also works at a government office.
They bought a number of books for their 12-year-old girl Shejuti Islam by visiting different stalls.
Shejuti took books on horror stories, detective stories and science fiction novels from the fair. She said she comes to the fair with her parents every year and buys books of her choice.
When the Sisimpur characters appeared on the stage, the joy of young stars reached the sky. They welcomed them with a big cheer. Ikri, Halum, Tuktuki and Shiku sang and danced and made the Sisimpur Chattar the centre of all attractions.
Boibhob Saha, a seven-year-old boy, told the Daily Sun that he loves dancing with Halum and Ikri.
A drawing competition was also organised for children on Friday, the 10th day of the fair. Children from different parts of the capital painted pictures with their coloured pencils and brushes.
The Bangla Academy premises appeared to be a playground as children were hurrying from one stall to another with great excitement.
Their guardians introduced them with colourful books on stories, fairytales, rhymes, comics, mathematical games and science fiction.
Shahriar Adib, a fourth grader, said he visited the fair to grab his favourite books on horror stories, mathematical games, comics, fairytales and science-related ones.
“I’ve bought ‘Feltush? Chor Khabi!’ by Lutfor Rahman Riton, ‘Proti Mongolbar Amra Boi Chara Schoole Jai’ by Palash Mahbub, ‘Rush Desher Upokotha’ by Noni Bhowmik, ‘Goniter Swapnojatra’ by Ahmed Jawad Chowdhury and ‘Bigyaner Rajje Noy Dozon Proshno’ by Abdul Kayium. I shall buy more books,” he said.
Publishers, proprietors and salespersons said they were also enjoying the happy faces of children. According to them, this year the number of children visiting fair is more compared to the previous years and they are doing good business.
Dhaka Comics, Jhinge Phul, Takdhum, Jhilmil, Taitambur, Kinder Books, Ghashphoring, Soptodinga etc. stalls were crowded with children and their guardians.
Kinder Book’s publisher Mahmudul Hasan said, “We have brought a number of books by popular children litterateur like Lutfor Rahman Riton, Mustafa Mamun and Ahsan Habib. Our error free texts, colourful illustration and good quality paper are making satisfied both the children and their guardians.”
He also said his publishing house is bringing over 50 new and colourful books, including a classic story series, for children this year.
In this year’s Amar Ekushey Book Fair, a total of 111 stalls have been allotted to 71 companies publishing children’s books.
Popular writer Dr Muhammed Zafar Iqbal said, “Reading is very important for children. The time it takes to read a book is significant for them. There’s no point in forcing children to choose a certain subject. They’ll read whatever they like.”
“But they must read as watching television or playing video games on electronic gadgets will never bring anything good for them,” he added.