Each student dreams of learning from the best. Where writing is concerned, who can be better teachers than the legendary Ruskin Bond and the extremely talented Khyrunnisa A ? Both masters of their art form have been writing stories for children for a long time. Back in 2021, Smile Foundation partnered with ParentOf to bring to children a masterclass on storytelling by Ruskin Bond and Khyrunnisa A.
The online masterclass was held on the evening of 27th November 2021. It saw the participation of more than 2,000 children. Among them, 700 are associated with Smile Foundation. The event truly had a phenomenal response.
The total outreach for the event crossed almost 1,00,000! The session was scheduled for about an hour. But it was so interesting and engaging that it went on for almost two hours!
Everyone’s Favourite: Ruskin Bond
A lot of us have grown up reading the stories of Ruskin Bond. His descriptions of beautiful hills and valleys have awakened the fancy of many children reading his stories. Thus, an opportunity to learn from the master himself was something that many children looked forward to.
It was a pleasure for all the participants to interact with their beloved author. And the children were bursting with questions for Mr. Bond to answer. One child asked an interesting question: ‘What is your favourite genre for story writing?’ To this, he promptly answered that although he writes a mix of many genres, he would love to write a simple, endearing love story.
Khyrunnisa: A Source of Many Childhood Memories
For most of us growing up in India, Tinkle might have been among the first few things we ever read for pleasure. Author Khyrunnisa A. is one of the prominent children’s authors who have contributed to Tinkle. In fact, she has written many other anthologies and stories for children, mainly featuring the character named Butterfingers.
Khyrunnisa was the other mentor for the masterclass. And what a wonderful job she did! Children asked her a ton of questions, all pertaining to how to go about creating and writing a story. Someone asked, ‘What comes first: the plot or the character?’ The expert acclaimed author answered all the questions with enthusiasm.
She also conducted a 45-min workshop on how to write a humorous story. After explaining the various facets of conceptualizing such a story, she even asked the children to start working on one. Over the course of the workshop, all the children managed to draft the outline of a humorous story. Any questions they had were put in the Q&A box and promptly answered by Khyrunnisa.’
What the Children Took Back from the Masterclass
Learning from the greats turned out to be a huge learning experience for the children. They got to interact with the writers whose books they read religiously. Moreover, they even got a chance to implement their learnings as well. The masterclass on storytelling by Ruskin Bond and Khyrunnisa A. was a huge success. All the participating students are now looking forward to the next storytelling session.