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Review 6.2: Max Takes the Sweet Shop

Report on the 4th EU-CHINA INTERNATIONAL LITERARY FESTIVAL

Held at the Viva Mall, Fu Li.

Author: Clare Azzopardi.

Time: 15:00 – 16:00pm

Date: 02-06-2019

The final session for the Book Festival held at the Viva Mall, Fu Li, welcomed award-winning children and adult book writer Clare Azzopardi who hails from Malta. As the head of department of Maltese at the University of Mala Junior College with books translated in several languages, Clare shared her work with her audience reading from her book “Max Takes the Sweet Shop for a walk”.

Clare began with an introduction of herself after Gary, the host and translator for the session briefly introduced the session. Gary expressed his thanks to Clare for coming and also welcomed the guests, parents and children present. HE asked that the children made themselves comfortable on the special cardboards that had been beautifully spread out on the floor of the venue so they could engage with the author while she read the book. Gary also mentioned that this was the last session and he was very thankful to the audience who had come today. Without readers, the work of authors will have no value.

Clare said she was going to read the audience two books. The first book was about Max and the Candy shop and the second was about Flamingos. The children were all seated and ready to hear Clare read them these two beautiful stories.

Little Max visits a candy store to buy some candy. A very disappointed candy store tells Max how people are no more coming to the shop to buy candies anymore. It is afraid all the candies are going to expire. The story narrates how the two friends go out and share the candies with many unsuspecting people, even to a girl who is alone on the street alone. The story is an adventurous one and Clare, a teacher from Malta, shares the story passionately with the parents and children as she gestures with exuberance, accompanied by the illustrations on the screen, giving the audience every cause to enjoy the reading of the book.

The story ends well where all the children are given candies to eat. The story is one of a crazy adventure a little boy embarks on, to help his friend who is going through a difficult time. He is very successful at this. The story teaches children lessons on support and being friendly and helpful. It also has teamwork in its theme and parents could use these themes to coach their children through Clare’s writing.

For the second story, Clare introduced the story by asking the children if they knew the Flamingo. Most of the children put up their hands. Clare asked, ‘What color is a flamingo?’ Most of the children said, ‘pink’. Clare was excited that her audience were so engaging. ‘That is true,’ she said. ‘But a flamingo is grey and white when it is young’. She added.

The illustrations were projected on the large screen as Clare read the story. The children listened attentively to her narration. Clarissa, a young girl finds this Flamingo. Her mother initially protests and shuts the door but Clarissa does not give up. She is resilient. She wants to keep the Flamingo. She finds out later that the Flamingo has been bruised. The Flamingo was chased down by a hunter who hit her wings with a bullet. Unable to spread its wings, Clarissa literally changes the life of the Flamingo.

Clare, being a teacher makes her reading very interesting and engaging. She uses gestures and asks the children questions. She asked them to make some sounds and mimic actions she was doing. The children were fully engaged and were happy with the text as it was being read.

After reading the two books, the children were asked to do some activities. They had the chance to choose from a box of different colors and paint some of the drawings Clare had brought along. Clare also gave them the chance to use some stickers and design their own characters.

This session was very interesting. Speaking with a parent after the event he was happy his child was able to hear the story from the author herself. He was lost in praise for the author’s strong narrative prowess, her warmth and teaching skill that made the children enjoy the session.

Clare took some photos with the children. The children also showed her their art work and she was delighted to see what most of them had come up with. “Good job” she kept saying.

The event ended around 16:05.

Report by

Robert Chireboah-Ansah

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