The first public reading of “The Pink Mask” at the Montessori School in Almaty

the pink mask book by female writer Slava Noor

Today was a very special day. And not only because it started snowing in the morning in my home city Almaty. Today was the very first public reading of “The Pink Mask”. Montessori school has welcomed me a as a speaker a few times before – I got to talk to the kids about Dubai and United Arab Emirates when they were learning geography and then talked about my experience of diving with the blue whales during my last visit. Most of the kids knew me enough to expect another adventure and art packed session.

I was lucky enough to be accompanied by my super talented illustrator Madina and despite being nervous in the beginning, we both had a great time engaging with the kids. Hopefully the kids enjoyed as much as we did as we tried our best to make sure they enjoyed every minute of it.

We started with my reading of the first three chapters with a short Q’n’A session. The kids were very excited to talk about the Ocean and easily recognized the iconic Burj al Arab on the first image as most of them have visited Dubai before. Then Madina talked to them about the process of creating an illustration and showed the time-lapse videos of the first illustrations. The rooms was filled with giggles and loads of questions and a few “I want to become an artist as well”.

Then the kids had a chance to imagine and draw their own Trash Monster as we discussed the type of trash one could find on the sea bottom. Each Trash Monster looked scarier than the other which huge teeth, loads of arms and trash floating around them. Some drew fish in little cages, others turtles entangled in fish nets. I was quite surprised that a couple kids suggested that in fact, WE, people are responsible for the trash – they figured it out quite fast.

Two boys said they were not scared of the Trash Monster “because we are boys” to which Madina said “because you are brave children” and I added “and girls are AS BRAVE AS BOYS ARE and some are EVEN BRAVER. In fact, do you see that the main character is a girl?” This little anecdote just reaffirmed how important it is to have more books where the girl is not just sitting in a tower waiting for a prince to rescue her but sets on her own adventures instead and is a leader and not follower.

the pink mask book by female writer Slava Noor

To finish our session, kids saw the original illustration of the Trash Monster, as well as the time lapse of its creation, colored the first illustration and then we all enjoyed posing for a group picture.

I guess it is safe to say it was a success as it was evident by the smiles on their faces. Huge thanks to Montessori School for hosting us.

Do get in touch if you would like me to visit your school too 🙂