On 24th November, author Ken Spillman was visiting the American School for a ‘Bookaroo in the City’ event being conducted by Pratham Books across schools in Delhi. We thank Scholastic for collaborating with us to bring Ken and his stories to the school. An excited bunch of students from fifth grade got to meet Ken and hear about the adventures of a little boy called Jake. Ken is the author of three books that feature the character Jake.
Ken began his session with a brief history of printing and how books were painstakingly written by people. But, that is not how books are published currently. If it hadn’t been for the imagination of a few people, we would have been deprived of several inventions and innovations. And on this note, the children were introduced to Jake and his imagination. Jake is a boy whose imagination is not restricted by boundaries.
Ken talks about his book ‘Jake’s Gigantic List’ where Jake’s birthday list includes a pirate (a friendly pirate), a piranha and a dinosaur and several other things. How would his aunt cater to these demands? Ken is a great entertainer and the manner in which he modulated his voice (imitating the aunt, Jake and an angry dad) livened up the reading.
His second reading from the book ‘Jake’s Balloon Blast’ especially touched upon the topic of imagination and how one needs to continue imagining things even if one fails occasionally. Jake’s hilarious adventures of trying to fly (he even tried to fly with wings of cardboard, stuck to an old shirt with super glue) captured the attention of all the children present. The kids at the school certainly seem to love reading because when Ken mentioned the name of a book that Jake is reading in the book, the room was filled by a chorus of voices that chanted “Ahhh…that book! I’ve read that book too”. The kids ‘tsk-tsked’ as they heard about Jake preparing to jump off the balcony in his attempt to fly and gasped collectively as he fell down on the ground and chuckled as they learnt about his other antics. Ken stopped the storytelling at an interesting point and urged the children to go on and borrow the books from their library and read them.
As soon as he stopped the storytelling session, Ken was immediately bombarded with questions:
“When did you start writing?”
“Who was your inspirtation?”
“What genre is your writing classified under?”
“How did you decide to write this book?”
“Which is your favourite book out of all the books you have written?”
“Is writing a lonely job?”
“Where can we read all your books?”
The children were full of smart and intelligent questions. One thing I liked about Ken was that he asked the kids who were shy to ask him questions (or those who may think of questions later) to write to him and that he would reply to their mails and answer their questions.
As Ken prepared to leave, several kids were seen crowding around him to take pictures and get autographs. Some of their faces fell when he had to leave and couldn’t autograph their little scraps of paper, but their faces instantly lit up when they realized they could meet him again at the main Bookaroo events.
View pictures from all the other Bookaroo events here.