21 May 2013

Stories for children

Though many people call themselves as `story tellers' for children and market their stories flamboyantly, any adult with reasonable sense of judgement would find that many of these stories are junk.

I view it not as a phenomenon confined to any one community or nation, but as a common infection affecting the world at large. (A few years back, a children's novel written by a South Africa based female writer of British origin gained international popularity. As with most novels in the Western hemisphere, a wide range of multimedia versions of the novel followed. I have seen many of my colleagues and friends taking pride that their children liked the material.  Not many people would have known that the ideas contained in the novel were copied from ancient Indian texts and were not the author's own).

This morning's `Young World'  supplement of THE HINDU newspaper as usual contained a few stories and the usual marketing stuff from the so called `child - friendly' material development companies (about some of which I have mentioned in my previous posts). 

Sometimes we judge about a person from what people say without realizing that these people may have projected a wrong or exaggerated image of the person.

It is common knowledge that when some information about someone keeps spreading from one person to another, fabrication etc. get into the communication channel, depending upon how good or bad are the people involved in spreading the information.

We may sometimes find that our value judgement about a person is wrong once we get to know about the person from our own experience instead of simply believing what others say.

Two stories published in today's Young World reflect this fact excellently. The first one (`Doosra') outlines how Uncle Patnaik's skewed notion about shoe-shine boys gets straightened. The second one (`Mayuri Express') shows how Ankita's pre-conceived notion about her step-mother turns out to be wrong. Interestingly, these stories illustrate that people of any age can form wrong perceptions about others.

After reading the above two stories, I couldn't help reading Nimi Kurien's Just a taste of honey. But to be honest, I could understand neither the content nor what the writer tries to convey. (If this is the case with a professional with near native competence in English, I wonder how it will be to children). I think that it is important for people like Nimi Kurien to empathize with prospective readers, set clear objectives and write in simple English so that the story is not only interesting but also meaningful in the fullest sense. If they can't do these, it is better not to write.

Any story for children should contain a moral for children to follow. Otherwise, the material would be nothing but trash.     

I wish Ramendra Kumar and Rachna Chhabria write more such stories and if possible, get them published as books so that numerous children (and adults) can derive the benefit.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks. Glad you liked the story. It has always been my attempt to write stories which have a value tucked in somewhere, since I don't believe in mindless entertainment. This ethos of mine has resulted in my losing out quite a bit. However, I have always refused to pander to the dictats of some of the publishers and walk the path I believe in.


About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
I am a retired K-12 Education Management Professional. I have worked at different levels in K-12 school systems, textbook publishing, elearning and Education NGOs. I have held memberships in The Association for Science Education (UK), American Association of Physics Teachers and The Malaysian Institute of Physics. I hold a 1st class B Sc Degree in Physics followed by B Ed [English and Physical Science] and M A [Childcare and Education] degrees. My published works include 59 articles in teacher development magazines in India and the US and a book entitled `Creative Classrooms and Child Friendly Schools' (listed in Amazon). This book is almost an anecdotal account of my professional experience in six countries (including Cambodia where I worked as Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Youth And Sports). I served as mentor in the Certificate of Teaching Mastery Program offered by Teachers Without Borders.