After the immense success of the first edition in the French language, my audience started to ask for a version of my illustrated children’s book in the Kreole language and in English.The French version was launched and immediately put for sale in December 2020.
I contacted many translators and publishers in Mauritius to translate and publish the book in Kreole. I did not get any response mainly because Mauritius was under confinement for a long time.
As all things have a good and a bad side, I spent my time in confinement to translate the book in English.
The Mitsui O.S.K Lines (Mauritius) Ltd, the Japanese Company, owner of the bulk carrier ship MV Wakashio that ran aground on the coral reefs and spilled oil off the coast of Mauritius, collaborated in the printing and publishing of the new book.
On Tuesday 10 August 2021 , Mitsui O.S.K Lines Mauritius Ltd organized the launch ceremony of the English Edition in the presence of His Excellency the Ambassador of Japan in Mauritius, Mr. Kawaguchi.
The launch ceremony was held in the office of the Mitsui O.S.K Mauritius Ltd at Pointe D’Esny in Grand Port, Mauritius. We could see with binoculars the remaining part of the wreck of MV Wakashio. A sad sight!
I am overjoyed with the progress of my illustrated children’s book Wakashio. Je souhaite partager avec mon audience cet élan de bonheur.
Je remercie mes lecteurs pour leur soutien.
‘To have a great book, we must have a great audience’. C.S.Lewis.
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.
A mother will take you under her wings, even when you know how to fly – my quote.
I don’t know how true it is for you. For me, I always come to the help of my grown up children even when they refuse my help. A child remains a child for a mom even when he is an old man and a great granddad. I refer to child as a male because I have only boys and four of them.
I remember telling them stories, mostly imaginative, when they were very small. Later and now, I tell stories to my grandchildren.
Even later and as far back as last year, I wrote my first story book for children, The Princess and the Crow.
A few months ago, I conceived the idea of a new, illustrated book for children. I am expecting to deliver the book any time now.
A book is like a child to me. I have in all ten children, four biological children and six books. Awaiting the birth of a book gives me the same anxiety problems, coupled with short breath, cold sweat, loss of appetite and loose bowels.
Most of all, I am on top of the world as a creative writer and a mother.
Writers write because there have something deep inside their guts that they need to bring out.
My advice to writers is to write and write until you bring out what is inside you.
When I was five, I was baffled to open a wrapped gift under the Christmas 🎄 🎅 had offered me,my first children’s book ‘Toto et Titi’. The black and white pictures were amazing. I started to dream of a color picture book and a story about little girls, birds, flowers and fruits. I entertained a thought about a witch too! In those days, when we were a British colony, often there was no electricity in the night and children slept in their mother’s lap,listening to stories of beautiful princesses and ugly witches. No wonder, now a mother and a grandmother too, I have written a story book for children, illustrated with pretty, color pictures. The Princess and the Crow will make the perfect Christmas gift for a child if you, my friend and reader, is looking for a lovely book to offer this Christmas 🎄 Published by Austin Macauley Publishers London earlier this year, the book is available for purchase worldwide on Amazon.
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 happy to learn that I sold the first copy of my children’s book,The Princess and the Crow,within few days it was put for sale on the online store Amazon.
The customer lives in Parlika, a village in Rajasthan, known as the birth place of Hindi poetry writers and shayari composers .
In the picture below, children are reading at home. Home is where education begins. When we teach our children to read and write, we open their eyes to the beautiful people and things in the whole world around them.
The second picture is that of the Noble Prize Winner of Literature in 1913, Rabindranath Tagore.
‘The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.’ Rabindranath Tagore
2 APRIL is a very important date for writers of children ‘s books. So it is for me, a debut writer of children’s books.
Since 1967,on or about Hans Christian Anderson’s birthday ,2 April, International Children’s Book Day (ICBD) is celebrated to inspire the love of books in children and to call attention to children’s books.
Activities on this special day include writing competitions,announcements of books awards and events of children’s literature.
Parents are encouraged to read to their children at home, to stimulate their love of books for children, to encourage literacy and arouse the growth of their imagination.
My readers may call this a coincidence but I did receive by courier from Austin Macauley Publishers London the author’s copies of my newly released children’s book on the 2 April.
The Princess and the Crow was officially published on 29 March.
One may wonder how does the writer’s mind work. How can he focus both on writing a story for children and simultaneously pen down about love, passion, disloyalty ,break ups, happiness, joy, sadness et al, which makes up a collection of love poems for adults. The answer is as simple as this, writing can be compared to cooking. You give a good cook a bag of grocery and he will make you a fantastic meal!
From my early childhood, I am a book person, or a book worm ,if you prefer. I hate to go to school though and prefer to sit down in a corner, to dream and to play at imaginary games.
My eldest sister, Romila started schooling at 5. I was only three years old then. My Papa bought Romila her first book. I still remember clearly the name of the book, its color, white with black and brown images on the front cover and on the pages. The title of the book was ‘TOTO ET LILI’. A book written by Augé in French. Romila was overjoyed with her book. I asked to touch, to hold and to smell the book. I fell in love with books! It was love at first sight. I can still smell, after numerous decades past, the heartwarming odour of a new book as it penetrated my young nostrils on that memorable day.
In no way was I motivated to go to school! I loved the book, the words, the images. They had the power to journey me into wonderland. I was Toto, smoking his pipe. I was Lili, laughing.
My Papa was delighted to observe my interest in books. He offered me my first illustrative story book for my birthday.
As I grew up, I loved to imagine stories about animals, children, ghosts and fairies and to relate them to my younger siblings, cousins and other children. I kept this habit after I was married and had children. In turn, I invented magic stories to tell to my children at bed time and any time that called for a fantasy story. Years after, I gathered new listeners around me. My grandchildren became very fond of my fables .I started to pen down these stories and to store them in my computer.
However, after I published my first poetry book, Soul Poetry, in 2015, my son succeeded in convincing me to write a story book for children. He believes that my stories have the potentials to stimulate the imagination, the curiosity and the love for reading of children of all ages. From a good story teller, his dream is to see his mom as a good story writer!
My first illustrative children book which is dedicated to all the children of the world will be released soon.