Spreading the word
MAYA MCMANUS, 28, Founder-partner of Beyond Textbooks
“I have learnt more from children than they
have learnt from me”
Encouraging children to read books when they are burdened with curricular pressures or distracted by other recreational pleasures was a challenge Maya Mcmanus took up on a whim. So far, she is pleased with her decision because her initiative, Beyond Textbooks, founded earlier this year, has touched the lives of many schoolchildren. Through a series of workshops, Mcmanus encourages children to read and bring text to life with the help of theatre using reader response theory. “Reading also helps children to imbibe values like tolerance and empathy,” she says.
THE JOURNEY While studying history of art and archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Mcmanus chose to focus on colonial architecture in Kolkata. “I have spent my childhood here and I have great memories of it. Once I came back here, there was no way I was going to live anywhere else,” she says. Having volunteered in city schools and co-anchored a documentary film on Asiatic Society that was directed by Goutam Ghose, Mcmanus says she is fortunate she has never had to try too hard to do what she wanted