Saturday morning, we had the privilege of having Ken Spillman , an Australian author who writes books for children,with us to meet some of the kids from the Nabadisha Centres and The Child Care Home, to whom he narrated some of his stories in a manner that totally mesmerized them. We were delighted to see the kids reach out to their storyteller for more. After the storytelling and the interaction, books were distributed amongst all, donated by Scholastic.
At the meeting with our volunteers, Ken began by introducing the beginning of his journey as an author, the importance and significance of the art of storytelling and the way it can be effective in bringing about great changes in young minds and lives. Ken, very patiently explained how storytelling can not only be educative but therapeutic and how this art has been effective to all societies and geographies irrespective of changes of time and generation. As you would all agree, stories can do wonders and it is the way you reach out and narrate your stories to your audience that determines the strength and power with which it affects them. Ken suggested meeting the eye of the audience while narrating, so that there is a deep connection between the story teller and the listener.
On being asked, he even narrated a Dr. Suess story called ‘Sneetches’ to us that completely thrilled us all. We sat around him, while he spoke and showed illustrations on his ipad. A simple story that had in very simple terms, talked about notions of difference and living with them with a sense of respect and tolerance. After his narration Ken asked us to put forward out queries to him. On being asked about choosing the subjects for his stories, he said that it not the author who chooses a subject, but the subject that chooses an author. A significant query was, about the kind of stories that should be narrated to kids who belong to a family or a community living in conflict and whether fairy tales are at all a practical option for those who live in slums and have a difficult reality to deal with. On being asked this, Ken threw light upon the fact that it is very wrong to underestimate kids thinking that a fairy tale might alienate them from reality and thereby not contribute anything to their strength of dealing with the difficulty. In fact, kids take a fanciful escape into the world of imagination all the while knowing the clear difference between reality and fancy. The fanciful tales just help them to take a better look at the difficult reality. The session composed of many such discussions and it was quite a learning experience for all of us. Our volunteers shared their experiences interacting with kids and how it helps in enriching their lives too. To sum it up, the interaction helped us to see certain difficulties and problems from an entirely different and a positive perspective. Everyone was thoroughly delighted with the way Ken spoke and interacted.