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“You put dreams in, and you get dreams out; you put garbage in and that’s what you get,” says popular children’s author John Archambault, speaking to a group of established and aspiring writers at the discussion.
Popular children’s authors speaking to a group of aspiring writers at the Sharjah reading fest on Friday — Supplied photo
He added that to look at the world through the eyes of a child is to see life fresh and brand new, and what we need to provide is a ‘sense of history’.
Fadhil Al Kaabi, a specialist in children’s literature from Yemen, was of the opinion that communicating with children is as profound and complex as it is multidimensional. He also urged parents not to be caught up with merely textbooks or underestimate the importance of literature in a child’s life.
Writer and poet Dr Ebraheem Abu Thalib from Yemen, appealed to the governments of all nations to give more attention to children’s literature. The session was moderated by Dr Omar Abdulaziz.
When it comes to the ‘Techniques of Writing for Children’, each writer has his or her own — a fact that was manifest during the discourse moderated by Aisha Al Ajel. Lebanese writer Fatema Sharafuldin emphasised the importance of plain hard work when it comes to writing for children. “It’s important to raise a sense of curiosity in children,” she added.
Yaqoob Mohammed Eshaq, a writer and journalist from Saudi Arabia, said that children’s writers should have a basic background of psychology and education as there is a huge difference between writing ‘for’ children and writing ‘about’ children.
Scot Gardner, a popular Australian ‘realist fiction’ author who writes for children and teenagers said: “We try to contain the culture that we know, and present it to our children.”
Gardner was talking about how influenced a writer is by the culture that he or she is a part of. He amused the audience by playing the Didgeridoo, an Australian wind instrument, to illustrate his point.
Helen Nathan, the author of the widely read ‘Flossie Crums’ series that combined cooking with adventure said that the trick is to ensure that the characters are engaging, the topic is one that the author is passionate about, and most importantly, that the illustrator does a good job.
Wafa Thabet Mezghani of Pro Reading Center ended the discourse by introducing the audience to her pet project of ‘tactile books’ for the visually challenged. The book is an adaptation of ‘Giraffe Milia’ by Reiner Delgado, the visually challenged President of the German Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted, who is conducting workshops on making tactile books at the festival.
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