Hold the hand of the child that lives in your soul
For this child nothing is impossible
Author of The Alchemist
As a child I was fond of reading books.My papa offered me my first illustrated children’s book in French ‘Toto et Titi’ when I was three. I delved in the pages of my treasured book and I had a dream. I dreamt of my name on the front cover of the book.
I cherished the dream for a long time. Writing a book for children sounded like impossible… a poetry book for adults crossed my mind often. Yet I hold on to the dream of writing a book for all the children in the world.
This dream became true when many many years after, I wrote and published my debut children’s book, The Princess and the Crow.
Many of you may have read that book and many of you are aspiring authors.
Hold the hand of the child that lives in your soul and make the impossible become possible NOW.
Once there was a little boy who lived with his poor, widowed mother in a far away village. His name was Harry. During school holidays he had no friend with whom to play. His mother was a loving woman and played with him when she was not busy with her household chores. One day, however, she fell ill and Harry became very lonely. His mother consoled him and told him to go out and play with Krishna. ‘Who is Krishna?’ Harry asked his mother. ‘Krishna is the friend of all!’ Harry rushed out eagerly calling ‘Krishna! Krishna!’ ‘Hello!’ said a cow herd boy coming from behind a tree ‘why are you calling my name?’ “Let’s play!’ Harry uttered with joy. They played together during the school holidays. Back to school, Harry told the school master about his new friend, Krishna. The school master listened to his story but did not believe a word of it. Soon it was the birthday of the school master. Harry became very sad; he had no money to buy him a birthday present. His mother then reminded him of his friend Krishna. ‘Go and talk to your friend Krishna’ she told Harry, ‘he will surely help you!’ Harry did as he was told and Krishna gave him a pot of butter milk. ‘Here! This is a birthday present for your school master!’ Unfortunately, the school master was not happy with the present. He scorned at it and asked his servant to throw the milk curd away. The servant complied but amazingly, the pot was filled with milk curd again. After several attempts to empty the pot, he ran to the school master to tell him about the incredible happening. ‘What!’ the school master exclaimed ‘it must be a magic pot!’ He immediately summoned Harry and asked him about the source of the pot. When Harry replied that his friend Krishna gave it to him, the school master asked him to take him to Krishna immediately. ‘I want to see your friend!’ he exclaimed. The school master followed Harry to the place where he met Krishna. At the top of his voice, Harry called for his friend but Krishna did not appear. Then from behind a tree, they heard another voice: ‘Why are you calling me Harry?’ Harry recognized the voice of his friend Krishna. He replied: ‘My school master wants to see you.’ ‘The school master cannot see me, Harry, because no one can see me unless he believes in me!’ said the voice gently but firmly. The school master was bowled over. He returned to the school with his tail between his legs.
MV WAKASHIO , a Japanese- owned bulk carrier ran aground on the coral reefs, off the coast of the tropical island Mauritius, on 25 July 2020.
Wakashio was empty of cargo but had an estimated 200 tons of diesel and 3,800 tons of heavy fuel oil on board.
Little by little, with the strength of the heavy waves, cracks arose in its hull. Fuel oil started to spill on the turquoise blue sea of the coastal district, Mahebourg. In no time, the oil spill reached its shores, destroying marine life, seaweeds, and corals.
The inhabitants ran to the rescue of the lagoon. They made floating booms with sugar cane straw to absorb the oil. In the meantime, foreign help was sought by the Government of Mauritius to block the catastrophic flood of oil from the hull of Wakashio to the sea.
On Assumption Day 2020, Wakashio broke into two. The authorities estimated that it would take decades to tow the two fragmented parts of the ship. Finally, the bow part of Wakashio was sunk in the deep ocean, far from Mauritius. It was also decided that the stern part of the ship that was stuck in the reefs would take decades to tow back. It remained as the remnant of a shipwreck in the lagoon, in the southeast of the green island.
The story here is told from the perspective of two Mauritian children, Angela and Oshin.
INSPIRATION TO WRITE THE STORYBOOK.
Earlier this year, I started a campaign to urge young Mauritian children to read books.
By coincidence, MV WAKASHIO met with a terrible accident at sea and it became the talk of the town in Mauritius and in the whole world. Social media wrote about the shipwreck and posted pictures of the sinking ship.
It dawned upon me to write the story of the Wakashio for children. I felt deep inside that it was a subject that will draw the attention of children, they will pick up the book and they will start to read.
Reading books and listening to stories stimulates the imagination of children.
As Albert Einstein has wisely said-
Imagination is more important than knowledge,
For knowledge is limited,
Whereas imagination embraces the whole world,
Stimulates progress, giving birth to evolution.
I strongly believe that children of all ages should read books and good books. In this age of electronic books, it is much better for parents to encourage a child to read traditional paper books, that he can carry and read every he goes – under a tree in the garden, on the lap of his mom… even where there is no electricity or an internet connection.
Reading books starts at home. First by a mother or a grandmother reading to a child, then by an elder brother or sister reading to a child and finally by a child reading a book by himself.
Salman Rushdie, the world acclaimed bestseller author says –
When a child is born, there are two things that he requires – LOVE AND SAFETY;
The next thing the child says is –
TELL ME A STORY.
Undoubtedly stories are an important part of our adult life; without them life is boring. Most of all, children love stories as dearly as they love toys and games.
My mother was an excellent storyteller. I vividly remember the story of Cinderella and Prince Charming as concocted and told by her when I was a kid. I bemused at her facial expressions and her body movements. I traveled to fairyland, wonderland, to faraway places; I fought with dragons; I talked to birds, rats, rabbits, and other animals.
Mostly, I started to daydream of Prince Charming. Often I took a broom, bigger than myself and arduously swept the kitchen. All the time, I kept an eye on the big pumpkin that mom kept in a corner of the kitchen, wishing that it would explode and Prince Charming would jump out.
From listening to stories, and putting myself in the shoes of Cinderella, I very rapidly developed a fondness for books. From reading books, I gradually started to write stories.
WAKASHIO is my new storybook for children and my first book in French. Mauritian children are more familiar with the French language, oral and written; I have written this book primarily for them.
It is legitimate for writers to remember that children are the adults of tomorrow. They should be made aware of the important happenings of their country and the consequences of their acts from an early age. Wakashio is a tale that relates the story of the wreck of MV Wakashio in pure and simple prose, illustrated by amazing color pictures.
One day, an old and worn-out goat was quietly crossing over a bridge under which a river was flowing. Coming in the opposite direction gallantly, was a sturdy young goat. When they reached the middle of the bridge, they realized there was not enough room for two goats to pass. They halted. The young goat said in a threatening voice, ready to come to thorns- ‘Out of the way you so and so! I am in a hurry!’ The old goat felt the looming sparks of hostility in the air. He had fought several fights in his life and this young goat, he thought, would be K.O in the first round! But wisdom dawned upon him. ‘The bridge is made of bamboo and is not solid. What if it collapses during the struggle? We will both fall into the river with dire consequences!’ He reflected. ‘Look here, young chap!’ He addressed his opponent with diplomacy. ’There is no point in fighting! I will lie down on my tummy and you can walk across on my back!’ No sooner said than done, each goat went off on his way happily! -Anita Bacha-
In the picture, Malachi and Kayla are reading the story book ‘The Princess and the Crow’. They are the grandchildren of Rekha and Jam Dookna. Their grandparents are born in Mauritius Island. They are now settled in Stratford, London. Their father, Kiran is born,educated and married in England. The kids have not yet traveled to Mauritius or to any other part of the world.
They are discovering an island surrounded by the sea for the first time. They learn that children born on an island have darker skin, that tropical birds, fruits and flowers are different.
Rekha babysits with the kids on school holidays. She gives them books to read instead of a remote control to watch tv.
Reading books helps children to learn about the world around them,broaden their imagination,vision and knowledge. It also awakens their love and compassion for others.
I was delighted when Lucy Ela Walmsey invited me to write a review of her children’s book ‘The Faery Tales ‘.
I ordered a Paperback copy on Prime Amazon on 23 June and it was delivered to me the next day, 24 June. Immediately, I started to delve in the pages of this marvelous book,full of colors and magic.
The story tells of the adventure of four friends Willow,Aria,Ember and Delta,set on a magical land, Glen Acre. The four friends are good faerys, who respect and love Nature.
As we travel with our mind’s eye in Glen Acre, we come across bumblebees flying gleefully with the friends riding on their backs, while frogs are singing and bugs are dancing.
Alas, some faerys are bad. They arrive on the scene to spoil the fun of the good faerys and the bumblebees.
However this story has a happy ending. It’s the victory of good over evil, as beautifully written by Lucy.
The message to children that they should respect Nature is a laudable one.
Last but not least, the illustrations by Elie Usher add their weight of gold to this lovely book. For those little ones who cannot read, it is a book packed with amazing pictures that will fly their imagination to fairyland while listening to a parent or a teacher reading to them.
I recommend this book to all lovers of children’s books.