World Book Day: news | Kochi News
The age of smartphones has made children more self-centered, says Sreejith Perumthachan, whose novel “Kunjuvinundoru Katha Parayaan” recently won the Pala KM Mathew Award, instituted by the Kerala State Institute for Children’s Literature.
The benefits of reading go far beyond literacy. In the words of Perumthachan, only stories can prevent the moral decay that awaits children in the future. Perumthachan says that as the planet celebrates World Book Day, kids need to be reminded to come back to stories and develop a deep love of reading.
“The protagonist of my novel is Kunju, a four or five year old boy. The novel shares Kunju’s experience when he stays with his grandparents. The stories they tell him have a strong influence on him, ”he says. Children should be read at the right age. Parents are essential for developing children’s reading. The challenge is not only to make them read, but also to make them appreciate.
“Most of our well-known writers have written for children. G Sankara Kurp, Sugathakumari, Akkitham, to name a few, all wrote for children. Vaikom Muhammad Basheer’s “Manthrikappoocha” has never been called children’s literature, but it’s perfect for a child to read, ”Perumthachan says. A child’s knowledge of folk tales, local festivals, village life, nature, etc. will be very useful to him in the future. “When I say read, I don’t mean read only popular fiction. There is a decline in morality even among children who read such publications. In my opinion, a kid who grows up with a deep love for folklore would learn more values than those who quickly finish big books, ”he says.
Perumthachan says parents should also have the good taste to discover such stories and tell them to their children. For example, take stories like “Mannaamkatta and Kariyila”. Not hearing such stories leaves a void in character development, he says. “Parents should start telling stories to a child when he or she is three or four years old. Besides written stories, we have stories passed down from generation to generation through word of mouth. For example, anthologies like Ashitha’s “365 Kunju Kathakal” can be read to a child, every day for a year. Parents should find such sources, ”he says.
Parents’ interests are also essential. “Not everyone likes stories or storytelling. You have to make a conscious effort to make space and time for the books. If you made that effort to know the stories and tell them to your children, it would teach them great virtues. Knowledge is not enough. A child’s feeling of giving up an elderly person on a crowded bus comes from good stories, not from school education, “says Perumthachan.” I read a story about a boy who said his sound favorite on this planet was the cash machine. ring. We should be able to let them know how trivial something as common as money is. Parents shouldn’t be reduced to human ATMs, ”says Perumthachan.
“With their gadgets, kids stay ‘connected’ and look busy, but the question is, what is the value of this activity? We must not make our children believe that it is normal to be successful professionally in life and not to have values, ”he says. A magician once converted his child into a parrot. He was, however, unable to transform him into a child. The child was hated by parrots because they knew he was not one of them. He was also ignored by humans because he looked like a parrot. The situation for children today is similar to that of the parrot, says Perumthachan.
“In the race for a predefined goal, children forget to look around and see the life around them. Story books would help them get a better perspective on life, ”he says.