Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ju's Story

Remember Ju? The girl who just wished that someone would write a letter to her? Here's Asma Menon's earlier post about the process of illustrating her story. Here's Radhika Menon's post about why and how Tulika came to publish Ju's story and why such stories are important. And now over to Asma, as she tells us about a unique workshop around Ju's story in Kochi.

Five artists from Chennai took a journey to Kochi via their works. The Vernissage Art Gallery was the venue. We artists and the gallery felt we needed to do more than just showcase our works.
I informed the gallery that my forte was working with children from ages 8 to 13. Then it occurred to me that this is exactly Ju's age group. Thus Ju was invited to have her story narrated.
The workshop was a series of activities, mostly centered around storytelling. After warming up and introductions, the children and I sat in a circle. I explained to them that the bases of a story was a beginning, a middle and an end. I started a simple story...Once upon a time, a girl lived with an elephant in the forest. One day, they went for a walk...The next child took up the story and the circle was complete.
Ju was brought to meet the children and her story was narrated by me, whilst holding the book and showing the children the pictures relating to the narration. I requested the children to write their response to Ju and to also write a letter to her. This way, her one simple wish would be granted. The children were enthusiastic and one young child of four and a half was very keen to tell Ju that she was not 4 or 5 but four and a half. Other children empathised with Ju and told her not to worry, life had plenty in store for her. Their immediate reactions were a revelation - the innocence of going into the world of Ju and making a connection with her as a person and not a fictional character.

- Asma Menon, artist and illustrator

Here are the letters the children wrote:


  1. A revelation indeed. Some of these letters have such profound thoughts!

  2. :) :) How awesome!! Loved it!

  3. @Arundhati Indeed. Also, as Asma points out, most of them are expressing empathy.
    @GB Isn't it? We too:)


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