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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Jahra's young stories

Jahra's young authors 'unleash' their stories
'Thirty years ago a woman was divorced from a rich man' - begins a story 'Lost Lima', penned by Turki Abdullah, a 7th grader. In the 20-page story (set in Mexico) Lima the 15-year old daughter of the divorced woman who grew up in an orphanage home, ran away and was rescued by a kind old woman. Events unfold through strange and odd episodes until we find Lima living happily with her parents and the old woman. From happiness, cooperation to environmental care and animal husbandry, emotions rule the stories written by the students ranging from grade 1 to 9 as part of the writing month conducted at Kuwait Bilingual School. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 'What is better than kissing your child when he is crying', goes a line in a story. The school organized an exhibition of kids' books for the public where many parents came and read to their surprises, their children's and other kids' stories. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Poverty, violence, drugs and other forms of evil also find their place in some stories. 'Protecting Program', a gory story, authored by 9th grader Abdulrahman Assad tells about a storekeeper who married the daughter of a poor widower. He then sells his child, much to the anger of his wife, (and to the agony of his English teacher). He was brutally killed at the end by his wife who leaves no proof for the police to arrest her. When asked why their stories sound so unfamiliar, both Turky and Abdulrahman said they wanted imagination take over their day to day reality. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "I had many delightful moments going through 500 plus stories", agrees Susan Jenkins, the English coordinator at the school. This is more than I expected, she said. Their imagination is soaring; voice is varying and perspective changing. To look from a different point of view is not easy with today's kids, she added. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stories of high morals were the most found genre in the two-day young author exhibition. Tamara Mubarak's character, Abdullah throws soda cans and plastic wrappers from their car on the way to the beach. The environment unfriendly Abdulah also smashes a bottle on the beach before he goes for swimming. When he comes back from the water, 'Agrhrr!!' writes Tamara, 'the glass piece went into Abdullah's feet.' The story ends when Abdullah later learns his lessons at the hospital. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ In another moral story, one of the fighting boys ends up in jail 'when they continued to fight even in front of the police'. Other environment themed works were plays collectively written by Grade 5 girls. “They brainstormed the idea, formed and named characters, including narrators”, said their teacher Meghan Bigwood. One play talks about a competition on taking care of the environment. "A dry topic like environment would be ignored. So we put some element of competition in it", said one of the young authors. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Kid characters who are happy when they are sick because they don't have to go to school; A kid who poisons her math teacher and makes the teacher dance; A bug traveling through London, Madrid and other places through the days of the week; A poor worm that was accidentally stamped by a child; The pirate who kills people by his sneeze, and realist fiction like community helpers also found their way to the imagination of the kids. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Earlier, the school had month-long activities on writing. Anagrams, puzzle-jokes (Why did the chicken cross the road? To get away from the burger shop!) both in English and Arabic were put up on the bulletin boards where students had to find crazy solutions. The classroom doors were decorated with details of an author as part of the 'Author of the Week' activity. Classes were given topics in English and Arabic before the students went bang with a flood of stories. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- KG children also took part with their single character - one-page picture story about samak (fish), asad (lion), pat (duck), arnap (rabbit) and a girl who is eating salad. The nursery teachers stood by the wall mounted stories of the little authors to explain 'This is a tree, this is a bear', inviting and invoking the Alice in Wonderland in us. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And for more serious readers, here is a story on recession - 'A Spanish citizen goes to the US, learns English and goes back to his country equipped with a skill' is the theme in a story written by 8th grader Abdulaziz Mamdouh. The title he gave to his story is open to more conclusions: 'Untitled'.

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