Young writer pens digital Diwali picture book

Kyalami Preparatory School's talented young writer pens a digital picturebook to celebrate Diwali.

A young learner from Kyalami Preparatory School has successfully written a digital picture book that captures the true essence of Diwali.

The book details the story of a prince’s 14-year exile into the forests of Ayodhya with his brother and beautiful wife.

This project was initiated in June during a creative writing lesson at the school. The author, a Grade 5 learner named Divya Moodley, completed the story just in time for its debut readings ahead of Diwali celebrations on November 12.

“I was in a creative writing lesson and my teacher suggested it to me. I thought it would be a really fun creative project to do,” said Divya.

She turned to online sources and her family to help check many of the story’s details, which are often retold orally from generation to generation.

“I did my own research. I looked online but also I spoke to my family. My parents and grandparents helped me with the basic storyline [of the famous myth]. It was a bonding experience. I was learning about my culture with the help of my family. It was an honour.”

The story was also critically read several times by adults who are familiar with the traditional stories.

Finding the perfect words to express herself was the most challenging aspect of the writing process, but Divya persevered and the result is a truly remarkable piece of work.

“My favourite part was the last page because that was when it truly felt real. I was honouring my culture and doing something I loved at the same time.”

Divya’s creative writing teacher, Siphiliselwe Makhanya, commended her for showing pride in her heritage and culture.

“When she was in our junior prep she would contribute excitedly to lessons that touched on her culture and faith. I thought it was awesome,” Makhanya explained.

“One of the aims of multiculturalism is to ensure our children learn what we teach them in school without losing or devaluing what they learn at home… In the past, the resources we’ve been using have been international ones, which would often have differences to what some of our Hindu children were familiar with. Since we couldn’t find the ‘just right’ book we had in mind, it seemed like a good idea to have a writing project to create one.”

Divya’s friends volunteered to voice-act in an audiobook version to be enjoyed by members of the school community.

Related Article: Kyalami Prep learners get called up for Gryphons U12 hockey team


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