The books have been conceived, written, designed and illustrated by the children themselves. Ranging from ages 9 to 13 (grade 4 to 7), these children show a great understanding of the many issues around them and have beautifully transmuted them into stories.
By A Staff Writer
Chennai: In what was a proud moment for students, teachers and parents alike, 12 students of Al Qamar Academy in Chennai participated in a book launch of books authored by their own selves on July 16, held at the school premises.
These budding authors participated in a Bookmaking workshop conducted by renowned conservation educator and filmmaker, Mr. Ramnath Chandrasekhar. Very much interested in getting students educated and involved in issues around conservation, Ramnath has recently developed a ‘Global Citizens’ diploma for school students that hones children’s problem-solving skills through storytelling.
“Through this programme, we want children to observe and analyse the problems around them, particularly environmental, ecological and other social issues and push them to come up with viable solutions for the same. All this is done while we teach them the basics of storytelling. Once they go through the stages of observation, analysis and solution finding, they need to tell a story about it”, says Ramnath as he explains the dynamics of the workshop.
And it was this workshop that resulted in 12 brilliant books by these students that deal with various themes, right from deforestation to water harvesting, the honey making process to waste management. Others included the disappearance of sparrows, the destruction caused by cyclone Vardah and the tragedy of having garbage littering our roads.
It’s a fun ride going through these books. You can witness the shenanigans of the animals of the Parambiram Forest Reserve as they plan to stop the takeover of their forest by government officials in AbdurRahman Jamal’s (Grade 7) book, or go an adventure with Beenoo, a ball of fluff who’s sad to see a city full of garbage in Mariam Akbar’s (Grade 4) work. You can follow the journey of a water molecule in Abdul Majid’s (Grade 4) story or understand how the ants saved their queen from the evil scientists in Anam Fathima’s (Grade 4). You can also read about the bees who only wanted to make natural honey in Iman Akbar’s hand written book or see how four sisters saved their village from a drought by introducing the techniques of water harvesting. There is also Ani, the Bee and her exploits in a book with astonishingly well- done illustrations by Ishaal Fathima (Grade 4) as well as the sorrowful story of a lonely sparrow in Mahdiya Marjan’s (Grade 7) story.
The books have been conceived, written, designed and illustrated by the children themselves. Ranging from ages 9 to 13 (grade 4 to 7), these children show a great understanding of the many issues around them and have beautifully transmuted them into stories. Colourful illustrations and bright, cheery layouts of the books add to the overall effect and have resulted in a tremendous product by these children. The books are self-published and have been professionally printed by the school.
“We at Al Qamar are firmly invested in the Montessorian principles of hands” on learning. Education has to be an engaging process where a child’s curiosity and individual expression should be allowed to thrive. We are also deeply committed to raising ecologically conscious citizens who possess a keen understanding of environmental processes and issues around them. This workshop was a fabulous opportunity for our children to achieve all these objectives. It was a hugely educative process for us all. Apart from this, we expose our students to a host of other ideas and invite ecologists and conservation activists from various fields who have inspired them”, says Aneesa Jamal, the correspondent of Al Qamar Academy.
This truly is a momentous occasion for the children, and we hope that these young writers continue to pour their creative juices into more socially- relevant writing in the future as well.
Aneesa Jamal, Nazreen Sheriff and Shazia Akbar worked closely with the kids to iron out grammar mistakes, spelling errors and provided typing and formatting assistance.