At the ongoing Bookaroo Festival of Children’s Literature, Melbourne-based Meredith Costain, who is an award-winning children’s author gives us a peek into why it is a mistake to read heavy morality-based books to kids.
Unlike most children’s authors who often try to send a message across through their stories, Costain integrates the everyday experiences of children. “When you are writing for children it is essential to see through their eyes. For them, everything is an adventure and that is how my books are.
I use a lot of humour in my books, something that helps us talk about various aspects of life,” shares Costain, who grew up on a farm in the countryside where she would cycle to find stories around her. It was during these trips that story ideas and poems came alive to her. She would scribble them all down. While she always knew what her heart wanted her to pursue, Costain’s decision to dedicate her life to writing children’s books arrived after she quit her job as an English teacher.
For Costain, kindness and loyalty are the two main qualities one must have.
“Since I cater to the younger audience, my characters often help each other out and are very loyal. In one of my stories, Ella, the main character is very creative and looses a role in the school play to her best friend, who on the other hand wasn’t really interested. Though Ella was a little jealous, she went ahead and stood up for her friend. So, such ideas of how to maintain friendship often come in my writing,” shares Costain.
Her latest offering Ella Diaries has the character Ella based on her — the little issues between siblings, her love for writing, thus the little poems sprinkled around the book. The poems are how Ella expresses herself.
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Alpenliebe Bookaroo, which is the festival’s 11th edition in Delhi is being held at the picturesque and expansive lawns of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) on Rajendra Prasad Road. Today is the concluding day.