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Big Little Book awards for S Sivadas, Deepa Balsavar

Winners were selected for their contribution to Indian children's literature with stories that talk to young readers about who they are and help them navigate a multicultural and multilingual environment, the organisers said.

By: PTI | New Delhi |
December 12, 2021 3:41:40 pm
Big Little Book awards, Tata Trusts' Parag initiative, contribution to children's literature, S Sivadas, Deepa Balsavar, indian express newsS Sivadas and Deepa Balsavar. (Photo: Instagram/@paragreads)

S Sivadas, whose work has stood out in the children’s literature field in Malayalam, has been named winner of the Big Little Book Award while the illustrator’s prize has gone to Deepa Balsavar.

The Big Little Book Awards are presented by Tata Trusts’ Parag initiative for significant contribution to children’s literature in Indian languages.

This year marked the sixth edition of the award and 490 entries were received during the nomination period from May to June. Malayalam was the chosen language this year for the author category, while the illustration category accepted nominations in any language. In the previous years, the award considered children’s literature in Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada and English.

Winners were selected for their contribution to Indian children’s literature with stories that talk to young readers about who they are and help them navigate a multicultural and multilingual environment, the organisers said.

Sivadas, based out of Kottayam, has over 200 books to his name.

“This, I believe, is a new beginning in my career as a children’s writer and communicator,” he said about the recognition.

 

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The jury that included M M Basheer, Paul Zacharia, Sherylene Rafeeque and Suneetha Balakrishnan said Sivadas “exemplifies a rare commitment to both the art and craft of writing for children” and this is “evident in the sheer range of genres and subjects he has covered in his body of work spanning over the last 50 years”.

He stands tall as a pioneer of scientific knowledge in children’s literature, it said.

Mumbai-born artist Balsavar said her work is both a privilege and a huge responsibility and the award gives her courage and hope to continue doing what she does.

“When we get children to read and think, we give them the tools to take charge of their lives and change their worlds,” she said.

Speaking about the winning illustrator, the jury that included Aashti Mudnani, Proiti Roy, Rani Dharker, Sunandini Banerjee and Thejaswi Shivanan, said Balsavar’s works “represent diversity, compassion and sensitivity without losing the playfulness and charm that appeal to children and adults effortlessly”.

According to Amrita Patwardhan, head (education) at Tata Trusts, “Original, engaging, quality children’s literature in Indian languages is critical for developing a reading culture and meeting educational goals” and this edition of the awards is “our way to celebrate outstanding contribution by committed artists who have made a difference to this important sector”.

Previous winners (authors) are Madhuri Purandare (Marathi), Nabaneeta Dev Sen (Bengali), Nagesh Hegde (Kannada), Prabhat (Hindi) and Subhadra Sen Gupta (English). Illustrators to win the award are Atanu Roy, Proiti Roy, Nina Sabnani, Priya Kuriyan and Rajiv Eipe.

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