Tata Big Little Book Award honours Suddhasattwa Basu’s contributions to children’s literature – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Acclaimed illustrator Suddhasattwa Basu has been awarded the Big Little Book Award 2024, as part of Tata Trusts‘ Parag Initiative. During the event, the fifth edition of the Parag Honour List, which comprises 28 children’s books in English and 13 books in Hindi, was also unveiled.
The Big Little Book Award (BLBA) honours authors and illustrators for their contributions to children’s literature.
Suddhasattwa Basu, known for his contributions to to magazines, books, and other visual projects has illustrated over 60 books, including Khushwant Singh’s Delhi Through the Seasons, Ruskin Bond’s To Live in Magic, and Vijaya Sulaiman’s The Homecoming.
In his statement Basu said, “Receiving this award has reinforced my convictions in the transformative power of storytelling through art. I am deeply honoured by this recognition, as it has not only invigorated me personally, but also inspired others in the ecosystem to captivate young minds with their creative endeavours.”
He has also authored and illustrated picture books for children, including ‘The Song of a Scarecrow’, ‘Whatever You Give’, ‘Ravan Remedy’, and ‘Chandernagor – A Burg of the Moon’.
Speaking to TOI, Basu shared that he was led into illustrating children’s books partly out of necessity and partly for the love of illustration-for which he chose the profession.
Born in a small town named Chandernagore (or Chandannagar), in West Bengal’s Hooghly, he studied fine arts at the Government College of Art & Craft in Kolkata, beginning his career as an illustrator for the children’s magazine Target.
Notably, Suddhasattwa Basu has also directed, designed and animated India’s first indigenous animation television serial for children Ghayab Aya. The serial was made in multiple parts and was first telecast on Doordarshan in July 1990.
Speaking at Parag on the role of pictures and illustrations in story-telling, Basu said that pictures have been the primary medium for documentation and telling stories across all civilisations.
“Making illustration could not be merely a job of visual translation of the text. It is rather a job of visual interpretation. With every ten words the illustrator has to add another nine hundred and ninety to complete the picture. After all a picture is worth a thousand words” he said.
In his messages to young illustrators, Basu shared “See around, look within.”
The event also saw the unveiling of the Parag Honour List for 2024, which covers a wide range of themes and genres. It recognises publishers’ contributions and directs children, parents, and educators to high-quality children’s books.
Parag is an initiative of the Tata Trusts aimed at supporting the development of and access to good quality storybooks for children and youngsters in various Indian languages.
Speaking to TOI, Amrita Patwardhan, head of education at Tata Trusts, shared some of Parag Initiative’s key achievements – including development of more than 800 new books in multiple Indian languages such as Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Gujarati and non-mainstream languages such as Mundari, Santhali, Bhili, as well as in English.
Additionally, in an effort to develop young readership in areas where mainstream educational resources are hard to come by, Parag has set up 1,074 libraries across the country in 7 states and equipped them with 2.74 lakh books.

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