Publishers don't understand kids, only care about money: Margaret Read MacDonald

Published on Nov 28, 2011 08:38 AM IST

In the capital to regale kids with her stories, American storyteller Margaret Read MacDonald she can't hold back her excitement at interacting with kids. She talks about children's literature, her books and more in a chat with Sonakshi Babbar.

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Sonakshi Babbar, Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi

Clad in a printed old-fashioned dress with antique black work boots, American storyteller Margaret Read MacDonald looks like the adorable granny straight out of our childhood picture books.

In New Delhi to regale kids with her stories at the Bookaroo Festival of Children's Literature, she can't hold back the excitement, "I hadn't been to Delhi since 1996, so when Bookaroo invited me, I was excited to come here. And I'm loving every minute of it, the audience is just too sweet."

Dr. Margaret Read MacDonald, who has written more than fifty children's books, brings alive folk tales from diverse places like Kenya and Japan in her picture books.

Kids and parents flocked to MacDonald's sessions where they sang, danced, and chanted stories in what MacDonalds calls, 'Story play'.

"I did a storytelling session on Dancing Tales from the Caribbean, and the audience response was amazing, they actually got up and danced. Storytelling is all about having fun and sometimes about just enjoying beautiful language," she said.

Margaret's popularity is evident as her books have been translated into Spanish, Mandarin, Bahasa Indonesia, Korean, French, and Japanese and many other languages across the world.

Talking about her latest book, Give up Gecko, she gets into the storyteller mode - alternating between falsetto and low-pitched voices to act the parts of the characters.

"It is a story about little Gecko - and has a moral which teaches 'never give up'."

While her stories are all bout entertainment, she thinks it's also important to give a message subtly, "I think both fun and education are important.  Many stories have wonderful morals, it's a way to pass on something without saying it overtly, it's like you wrap medicine in candy and it just goes down."

She has been telling stories around the world since 1965, and knows better than everyone else how the world of children's books has changed. "I don't think anyone would publish a book just because they love it. Now, most publishers don't know children, they just pick up stuff which they can market well. It's all about marketing and what they think will sell, they want to do publish books from which they can make money."

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