Elisabetta Dami at SCRF 2019: Books are a ‘Window to the World’
Sharjah, 19 April 2018:Returning recently from Africa, after a scientific trip, was Italian author Elisabetta Dami at the 11th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF), who is the creator behind the widely popular fictional mouse series, Geronimo Stilton.
Seeking inspiration for the subject of her next book, after a close encounter with gorillas and elephants in Africa in the recent past, Dami also shared several experiences of her journey as a children’s book writer, while answering questions for children, in the personae of her much-loved character Geronimo Stilton.
The Italian children’s author created Geronimo Stilton based on her experiences volunteering in a pediatric hospital. This led to the invention of funny stories with heartfelt endings to entertain young patients.
As an adventurer lover, she got her first aircraft pilot and parachutist licenses aged 20, travelled the world, and completed a famous survival course in Maine, in the US. Thus, recalling her expeditions and drawing parallels between travelling and reading, Dami said, “the joy of reading is like embarking on an adventure trip. Books are like windows that can take you anywhere”.
“I wrote my first story when I was 13. It was inspired by a huge emerald.”
Addressing a packed audience full of school children, Dami also emphasised on the importance of good values. “They are like a golden compass”, she said.
About her unusual choice of protagonist, she noted: “I chose a mouse as my central character because a mouse is always curious, and I am like that and I am curious to know about the UAE today. I feel children are also very curious, therefore, they have a huge potential to learn new things. I also thought the name Stilton was perfect. Get the cheese drift?”, and the audience laughed.
The long queues by the school children to get her autograph and picture, and the excited glee on their faces, was a silent reminder of the fact that even if an author hides under a pseudonym, the figure of the author will always remain vital to the way books are sold and written about.