Enjoyed storytelling of Chronicles of Meng Meng and An An at Popular bookstore in Bras Basah Complex over two weekends recently.
Was amused again by the difference of storytelling sessions in school and
in a mall. At schools, I’d have a big ‘captive’ audience, usually 30 to 40 students.
At malls, however, I have to compete with the surrounding distractions for my audience. Some days, I can get only 4 to 5 people! Then, it depends on my acting skills (!) to win more participants. At malls, I appreciate each and every child who joins me in my lonely spot at the reading corner. Thanks, friends, for your support!
I think every author should conduct storytelling in a mall occasionally beside school visits. It is a humbling experience, but it’s very satisfying because every participant is hard-won by your personal effort!
Time to doff my editorial hat and put on the reader’s gown. It’s time for book reading! I always find book reading a refreshing change from the daily grind of abusing a computer keyboard. Reading to kindergarten toddlers demands the acting skills of a Hollywood star, the voice of Luciano Pavarotti and the stamina of Mohammad Ali.
Preschool children are the most honest of human beings. If you are boring, or worse, meandering, they will space out right in front of you. So – eye contact, tone of voice and animation – it’s all got to be there in order to engage this exacting audience.
At times like this, it’s important to go back to the basics.
Why read to a preschool audience?
It’s good to understand why one wishes to read to young children. Parents read to their children because reading is a wonderful bonding activity. Until today, my children remember the stories I read to them and even the antics I put on to make the stories come alive. Teachers read to their students to increase their literacy.
As for me, I read to kindergarten audiences because I love to see their imagination take flight. The Little Red Helicopter is really all about the imagination.
I always get asked this question whenever I read the book aloud – Is the little red helicopter real? I love the way their little brows wrinkle as they struggle with the shackles of space and time.
I would love to answer with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, to smooth those little frowns away. But I never do. Each child must take away his own interpretation of The Little Red Helicopter.
And I sincerely hope the children will let their imagination fly.
Book Reading at Chatsworth International School, 23 February.
The Little Red Helicopter is launched! I am a winner of the First Time Writers and Illustrators Publishing Initiative 2009! (more…)