Asian Festival of Children’s Content 2010

Last week, I attended the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC), organised by The Arts House and the NBDCS (National Book Development Council).

I thoroughly enjoyed myself- attending talks and workshops, meeting other delegates, and catching up with friends and acquaintances. Almost went broke buying books and resources- if I have one regret it would be not saving up for the books I want to buy for me!

Here is PART ONE of the highlights of the festival!

John McKenzie- hands down my favourite speaker at the event. Hats off to you, sir! He said, “(Children) don’t need phonics! They need nursery rhymes, and stories!” I can’t argue with that, can you? ;) So taken was I during ‘The Postmodern Picture Book’ that I resolved to attend ‘Visual Language’, and ‘The Centrality of Story in the Curriculum’.

And Mr. McKenzie did not disappoint- I wish his talks were turned into 3-hour workshops instead, because one hour was not enough!

Here, Christopher Cheng talks about writing historical fiction- inspiration, research, writing the story (and naming the character), and bringing it into fruition. He keeps a very entertaining blog, and during the talk he mentioned that he keeps a blog just so people know he “has a life”. I have no doubt, Chris!

His enthusiasm is contagious, and it got me thinking about my own family history.

Rukhsana Khan (right, in pink) storytelling during ‘Bringing Oral Cultural Stories to the Page’. If I’m not mistaken she took five years writing ‘Ruler of the Courtyard’, and it is a fantastic book- reads like a song! Amazing speaker and storyteller, Rukhsana. The lady holding up the book was a sweetheart- she volunteered THRICE!

When Rukhsana speaks, you can feel her heartfelt sincerity, whether she is talking about culture, religion, or children. And who can forget that story about farting? I will have to pick up a copy or two of ‘Muslim Child’ for my young nephews! (And ‘Wanting Mor’ for my best buddy.)

The best thing about attending the AFCC is coming back to my cozy corner office brimming with new ideas, and feeling energized. PART TWO to come (if anyone’s interested) about meeting one of my favourite artists, scratching one’s head over conference etiquette, and attending a verse-writing workshop.


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