Archives of Contemporary India

Supported by HDFC LTD.

Collection on Children’s Literature of Manorama Jafa

Collection on Children’s Literature of Manorama Jafa
"Literature for children needs to be established as a separate discipline … Creativity starts at a very young age. To garner and hone it further, it is very important that it is polished and harnessed right from the beginning … Literature for children has been there for centuries in India, like ‘Panchtantra ki Kahaniyan’. But we have been lagging behind on the creativity part. We simply have been pushing forward the same old stories drafted centuries ago."

Manorama Jafa (born 1932) is a prolific writer of children’s literature. She is the General Secretary of the Indian National Section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). She was associated with the Asian Cultural Centre for UNESCO, as its Children’s book specialist and has served in the juries of the IIY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award (2000-2001) as its chairperson and the UNESCO Prize for Books on tolerance (1999-2000) as a member. She is the founder of Khaas Kitaab Foundation (an NGO dedicated to the development of literature for children with special needs). She co-founded the Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children (AWIC) with the cartoonist Shankar Pillai and edited Writer and Illustrator, its quarterly journal. She is also an editorial consultant with the National Book Trust, New Delhi. She founded Book Therapy, an initiative to support children who have experienced trauma. 

Manorama Jafa was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2014 for her efforts to the cause of promoting children’s literature and Order of the Rising Sun, the highest civilian award in Japan. Her Hindi novel Devika won Sahitya Kriti Samman from Hindi Academy, Delhi (2008). Some of her other noted publications are Writing for Children (1994); The Circle (2008); Great Tales from India (2009); Tree Growers (2011); Sadako of Hiroshima (2013); and The Parrot and the Mynah (2013).

About the Collection: The collection comprises technical books on art of children’s literature, touch and smell books, special work books, material on humour for children stories, and adult Hindi novels by Manorama Jafa. The papers also include her correspondence with cartoonists, and diaries on the art of children’s literature.

Donor: Virendra Singh Jafa
Acquisition: 2021