Book Day Celebrations at
St. Patrick’s Salesian School

 

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”, the famous comedian Groucho Marx had said. And on these words it was decided to celebrate World Book Day ‘unplugged’. No apparatus needed to soar – this time we fly on the wings of imagination.

A writer must first be a reader and so classes were divided between the ‘readers’ and the ‘writers’. Forms 1 and 2 gathered in the library to celebrate the books they’ve read, whilst Forms 3, 4 and 5 took to the activity room to nurse dreams of yet unwritten works.  The elder classes spent their session with a budding author, Mr Alexander Farrugia, with whom they exchanged short stories and participated in writing workshops. The main focus was flash fiction, a genre characterised by brevity. Flash fiction tales seem to be a slice out of a larger story.

Stories abounded for both sections. The point of departure for form 1 and 2 was a bit of folklore related to man’s love for stories. Few could read in the past, and those who could, very often served their fellow villagers. And perhaps, no service was as eagerly awaited as when a novel appeared in installments on the local newspaper. The villagers would gather on the doorstep to listen to the ‘story’. The boys were treated to this experience, with added spice, for on jumped Form 1 settings, acting out pieces from classics that you and I have curled up with on many a rainy day. Meanwhile the audience had to guess which book was being alluded to. Form 1 held centre stage once more with the antics of Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones from Thank You, Ma'am by Langston Hughes.

Suddenly we were moved on to another genre. Form 2 read an Egyptian play, Isis and Osiris. Plays can be as fascinating to read as to watch, for in our mind’s eye, characters become what we think they ought to be. Through voice and wigs, Form 2 transmitted one of the oldest tales known to man, the death of a god.
Then from the grandeur of the gods to the humbleness of two local villagers. Time for the antics of ‘Wenzu u Rozi’, the loveable old characters who were as stubborn as they were kind. The story, with its mixture of humour and pathos, was rendered by a group of teachers.

And if one wasn’t convinced yet that books are magical, the last item was the spirited narration in Italian of three naughty student witches, who, straying out of bounds got themselves in a mess. The audience was aided with impromptu sketches on the board. Nothing fancy. A nose, a hat, a broom… a few squiggly lines is all we need, the rest our minds will fill. After all, haven’t we yet learnt to fly on the wings of imagination?

Adrian Scerri