Big Little Book Award (BLBA), the first-of-its-kind award for children’s books by the Parag Initiative of Tata Trusts, today announced the shortlisted authors for 2021. This year, Malayalam is the chosen language.
For its sixth edition, the annual literary award had received 490 entries during the nomination period over May and June. Every year, BLBA chooses one Indian language for the author category, while nominations for the illustrator’s category are language-agnostic.
Shortlisted authors for BLBA 2021
- Palliyara Sreedharan
- Sippy Pallippuram
The nominated entries were carefully evaluated by a prestigious jury of literary experts, and are based on thorough eligibility parameters :
- Each author/illustrator nominated must hold a body of significant, original work across 7-10 years, which must be intended for children up to and including 18 years of age
- The stories/narratives must be culturally appropriate, challenge stereotypes and seem willing to break barriers in children’s literature
The BLBA was introduced with the intent to celebrate notable work in children’s literature, and is Parag Initiative’s endeavour to recognise authors and illustrators whose literary work has helped children familiar with a multicultural and multilingual environment. Striking a balance between the traditional and the contemporary, these authors and illustrators have given India books that address sensitive topics with the finesse of creative narration, coupled with illustrations that are inclusive, humorous and defiant of gender and caste stereotypes.
Since Malayalam is the language for the author category this year, the BLBA award ceremony for the winners will be held in Kerala, in collaboration with Kerala Sahitya Academy, Thrissur on 10th December, 2021, from 4pm to 7pm. Winners of both categories will be awarded and felicitated on the same platform, and the ceremony will be followed by a discussion on ‘Representations of Childhood in Children’s Literature’.
About the Authors and Jury’s comments for each:
Sivadas was born in 1940 in Vaikom, Kottayam. He has written over two hundred books over the last fifty years. Inspired by his childhood memories, love for nature and deep commitment to science, his work has stood out significantly in the children’s literature canon in Malayalam. He served as a Professor of Chemistry in CMS College, Kottayam till his retirement in 1995. S. Sivadas writes on popular science, contemporary ecology, short stories, novels and other fictional tales with an emphasis on scientific outlook. He is a recipient of multiple awards like Kerala Sahitya Akademi awards, Kairali Book Trust awards and lifetime achievement award from the Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children (AIWC) among others.
“S. Sivadas exemplifies a rare commitment to both the art and craft of writing for children. 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.”
Palliyara Sreedharan is a prolific writer for children in Malayalam and has authored over 150 books in a career spanning over 50 years. He was born in Kunnur in 1950 and grew up there. He is the present Director of the Kerala Balasahitya Institute (Kerala State Institute of Children’s Literature). He is commitment to mathematics, and dedicated his life towards writing about math for children in a way to mitigate the fear of the subject. He has authored several short stories, poems, dramas and historical fiction with mathematics as the central theme and written for children’s magazines too. Further, he has contributed to textbooks for NCERT and State Institute of Education. Over his long and fruitful career, he has received several prestigious awards like the Bharath Excellence Award, Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, Kerala Balasahitya Institute Award among others. He lives in Thiruvananthapuram and continues to write.
“The ‘mathemagician of Kerala’ instils in his young readers the courage and confidence to embrace the beauty of mathematics. Palliyara Sreedharan reveals how simple, fun and engaging the subject can be within the light of literature. His books on mathematics go beyond the confines of the subject to a larger reading universe.”
Sreekumar has over 190 books published for children across various genres. He holds a doctorate degree in theatre studies and began his career as a journalist in Mathrubhumi. He was born and grew up in Ernakulam district and currently stays in Balussery, Kozhikode. A prolific writer, his most recent work is Malayala Balasahitya Charithram (History of Children’s Literature in Malayalam) published by Poorna Publications released in November, 2021. His collected works on Soviet children’s literature and folktales, folktales from Kerala, and a series of picture books have been well received by children over time. He currently serves as the Coordinator (Research and Administration) at the Thunchan Memorial Trust, Tirur. Over his long career, he has received many important awards including the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, Bheema Balasahitya Award, Pala K.M. Mathew Awards, Balasahitya Institute Awards and more.
“K. Sreekumar stands out prominently with his writing that is never didactic. A writer of modern sensibilities, he mindfully picks his content and craft. Dr Sreekumar has, admirably, endeavoured to create a gentle awareness in the young mind by writing on topics like political violence and gender perception.”
Sippy Pallippuram was born in 1943 during, in the Vypeen Island of Kochi. Inspired by his grandmother’s tales, he wrote poems and stories as a child. He began to write for children during his years of teaching in school. His first book Kallivandi was published in 1968, and since then he has written over 200 books. Generations of children have taken to his works and have extensively appreciated his poems and short stories. Majority of his writing are for early readers, and some for older children and adolescents. His works have been published widely across publishers in Kerala for a range of genres including poems, short stories, novels and kathaprasangham (storytelling through poems). He has won an array of awards for his contributions to teaching and children’s literature. Prominent among them are Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award for children’s literature (2010), Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, multiple Kerala Balasahitya Institute Awards, Bheema Balasahitya Award and more. He currently lives in Palliport, Ernakulam and continues to write.
“Sippy Pallippuram, the much beloved raconteur, keeps young readers enthralled with his unpretentious and uncomplicated narratives. His verse is of performance variety and about everyday things which readers will remember for its rhythm and sound. This has not changed since the last fifty years; his pen still creates magic.”