Swati Roy set up Eureka!, a children’s bookstore, along with her colleague M Venkatesh in 2003 after saving money from her salary for over 12 years. In 2008, she started Bookaroo, the first children’s literature festival in New Delhi. Now after 8 years in the business and 6 Bookaroos later, she feels that this is probably one of the toughest jobs in the world.
To survive in the world of children’s books one has to juggle between participating in book fairs (including schools), tapping school libraries, conducting events that include book weeks and author meets and come up with a Bookaroo in between. Swati has been doing a bit of all that. And eight years down the line, she feels that it has all been worth the trouble. Through her work, Swati wants to get children and books together. She wants to see children enjoy reading and parents to feel reassured. Being in this space helps her give parents an opportunity to introduce books to children in a world bombarded by entertainment of forms that do not necessarily have anything to do with books.
By creating excitement around reading, even adults get a chance to relive their childhood. It helps bring the creators of books and their readers together and gives authors and publishers a chance to know – in real-time – how children are reacting to their books. Eureka! and Bookaroo give teachers and parents ideas on how to promote reading, how to make a book work, how to look at reading as beyond academics. The combined forces also create a melting pot of ideas for the authors and resource people. Bookaroo also creates a platform of an annual event that can reach out to an audience of underserved children too.