Nepalese children’s book publication Rato Bangala Kitab (RBK) and veteran Kanak writer and journalist Mani Dixit on Sunday celebrated the silver jubilee of their award-winning children’s book “Adventures of a Nepalese Frog” (Dhumdham ko Ghumgham: Bhaktaprasad Bhyaguto ko Nepal Yatra) at Rato Bangala School in Lalitpur.
The widely acclaimed children’s travel-adventure tale features the journey of a Bhaktaprasad Bhyaguto, a local young anthropomorphic frog from Kathmandu. Rato Bangala Kitab first published Dixit’s book in 1996 and since then Bhaktaprasad Bhyaguto’s journey has been translated into 23 different languages, including Braille.
The celebration was observed with writers, journalists, academicians, artists and many renowned personalities of Kathmandu.
“I had read this book a long time ago and had a unique experience,” said veteran actor Madan Krishna Shrestha, the program’s main guest.
“Going through this book, I feel like I am a frog myself. Often this book confuses me if humans are frogs or if frogs are humans,” Shrestha said happily.
The book is also a recipient of the Sajha Bal Sahitya award in 1997.
The event’s keynote speaker, Gautam Vajra Vajracharya, author of “Frog Hymns and Rain Babies (Monsoon Culture and the Art of Ancient South Asia)” who is currently based in the United States, spoke virtually about the book. He said the book is “unique and helps shape the cognitive development of children through the author’s detailed rendering of the geography of Nepal”.
The power of “Adventures of a Nepali Frog” lies in its descriptive and humorous narrative which not only entertains but also gives a lot of information about the geographical features of Nepal.
Speaking to the programme, Victor Pradhan, a specialist in children’s literature and former director of the Nepal Society of Children’s Literature, said the book was a “milestone for children’s literature”.
“Children should learn subjects like history, geography and culture in a playful way, but Nepalese have never learned them that way,” Pradhan said. “So we are behind in [learning about our own] geography. It is through foreigners that we must learn our geography or our history.
The Silver Jubilee celebration also saw a conversation between author Dixit and educator Kalpana Parajuli where they discussed the relevance of the book at the time of its publication and today.
For the event, the RBK had also organized a cover design competition for the limited anniversary edition. Of the five shortlisted submissions, Bishwo Manandhar’s “Frogs in Khopa” topped the other four.