Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

Why teachers and children love Winky

on 27/01/2016

Winky’s Colours is the first children’s book I had published, and even though it may not look spectacular, the content has been tested by myself and my teacher colleagues many times with children, and I truly am proud to say the book engages the children and teaches them positive values.

True, like any other author who believes in lifelong learning, I would love to improve its graphic layout, but not its message. The little penguin Winky has a good and strong heart, and bravely goes after his dream, never giving up. Here are a few paragraphs I wrote about the book, as suggested by my readers and reviewers.

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About the book

Winky is a little penguin who is unhappy living in his black-and-white world, because all he dreams of are colours. All alone, he sets off on an adventure to find colours. Along the way, he encounters new friends (polar animals and people), but also great danger. Will he realize his dream or risk his life in vain?

This book is written for children, but also parents and educators who believe in storytelling. Each chapter is followed with several comprehension questions to inspire critical thinking, and there are project suggestions in the end of the book.

Introductory description (avoiding spoilers;)

Winky’s Colours is a story about a little penguin who likes colours so much that in order to find them, he risks leaving his white home and his black-and-white family. He wanders off across the ice in search of colours. He comes across a baby seal, a baby orca whale and a polar bear cub, but none of them are interested in colours.

Exhausted, he falls asleep and is woken up by the siren of a passing ship. The ship is red and leaves a rainbow trail in the water behind it. Winky is thrilled! He wants to dive in and get all those colours all over him. His animal friends warn him not to, because they know what it is, but he doesn’t listen. He jumps in happily! But soon enough, his eyes become heavy…

Pssst, don’t worry. Tons of things happen from here till the end and the story ends happily, but I can’t very well tell you everything, now can I?

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Why I wrote this book

My reasons for writing this book are actually explained in my foreword. I teach English and I work with students of all ages and knowledge levels. When the idea of Winky appeared, it was a very cold winter and I was trying to teach polar animals, and touch on ecology, and Valentine’s Day was approaching, so I was looking for a story that had all that, one which I could tell my preschoolers as well as school children (aged 6-9).

I woke up one night with Winky and Betty in my head, and the pieces just all started to fit. It had all the elements I needed – drama, fear, dream, romance, ecology, friendship and family. I tried it on that very day using just notes and it was a hit. Later on, I presented it on a workshop/seminar for the teachers in our school and many of them welcomed the story and have been telling it ever since. My colleagues and friends were the ones who encouraged me to write and publish the story, and even use my illustrations, which I have.

The story may seem simple to some, but believe me, the looks on children’s faces when Winky sets off on his adventures, the jumping they do as I introduce Winky’s friends, the complete and utter silence as I say ‘and then everything turned black’, and the smiles on their faces as Winky meets Betty… precious!

What I think is valuable about it

Let me judge the most valuable pieces of the book by the things my students and I discuss when we talk about Winky: they tell me their dreams and if they would be afraid to take risks for that, whether they would leave or consult their parents, we talk about different worlds (Winky’s colourless world makes them think about the fact that not everyone is blessed with everything they have), we talk about animals, especially endangered ones (they are never afraid of the animals, because they are babies, and, to quote one of the students – ‘babies are never dangerous, only adults are dangerous’;), we talk about ecology, the danger of throwing garbage into oceans, about various jobs (they admire vets who save endangered species), about their favourite colours and where they find them, and about the importance of friendship, love and family.

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My message to readers

As mentioned in the afterword, story telling is and always will be important for humanity, for all sorts of reasons. It develops all kinds of intelligences on all levels and connects us all.

Modern parents, me included, are all so stressed out with work and recession, that we sometimes disregard how much storytelling would help us and our children. I have met so many adults (parents, teachers, etc.) who are kind people but simply have no strength or imagination at the end of the day to tell stories in a way to engage the child. Bogged down by all the media, gadgets and a multitude of resources, we forget the basic wh-questions, the simplest, non-technological, free and effective way to engage children.

So I have included a couple of questions after each chapter, to sort of lead an adult or child reading it to take a break, feel the story and think. No preaching, just little hints. I hope the readers like Winky, see him for the dreamer he is, and feel his big heart.

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Winky’s Colours is available as an e-book and paperback on all major purchase sites. Thank you very much for reading and leaving a brief review.

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2 responses to “Why teachers and children love Winky

  1. Congratulation on your Indie Book Nominee. Fingers crossed you will win this award.

    Liked by 1 person

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