Pinchi and the Alphabet - colourful DVD for children
Sharing a happy moment...
Janaki reminiscing her childhood experiences
Presenting the DVD and book to the young guests
A section of the distinguished
audience at the BMICH
Children taking part in the opening ceremony
'Pinchi and the Alphabet', is an imaginary concept of famous
children's writer, Janaki Sooriayarachchi. "I recalled how I learnt the
alphabet when I was a child. I gave each letter a name and they became
my friends. I imagined them in the sky among the clouds, among the trees
and bushes in the garden, in the shadows fallen on the floor and on the
beautiful wings of butterflies. Some letters
danced to a rhyme and some
smiled. I imagined that some letters were brought from heaven by little
fairies. All that was in my little fancy world as a child, was poured
into Pinchi and the Alphabet - a DVD for children", Janaki said at the
launch of Pinchi & the Alphabet, an educational research movie at the
BMICH on September 12.
Many children may have heard of Janaki because she has written many
colourful stories for children. These stories have enthralled young and
old. Even young children who are yet to learn their ABCs yearn to look
at her books as they understand the story by just looking at the
colourful and beautifully sketched drawings that cover in some instances
nearly three quarters of a page.
Even if a child has no language skills in either English or Sinhala
(the two languages she writes in) they have no difficulty in
understanding the story as Janaki tries to add every tiny detail of her
story in her sketches. "The colourful 'information' in each picture is
easily absorbed into the young minds", she said.
Janaki's latest addition is the Sinhala Alphabet in cartoon form,
titled 'Pinchi and the Alphabet'. "It's not a just another movie, it has
a few cartoon characters that teach the alphabet and is full of fun. The
child learns 32 letters of the Shuddha Sinhala Hodiya (Sinhala Alphabet)
without much effort," Janaki said.
"My aim is to make the alphabet easy and interesting for children.
This is the first of its kind in Sri Lanka. Our teaching methods should
be changed. We are still practising methods that the rest of the world
has shunned many years ago. Even text books are uninteresting to a
child", Janaki said.
Janaki launched the Pinchi DVD last Thursday. She presented it to 12
children of the only school in Uchchimune, an island off Kalpitiya. "I
launched my recent book at this school and found them really interested
in reading the book. They study in Tamil, but were eager to learn
Sinhala. Hence I thought they would be the best group to be presented
with their first ever Sinhala alphabet cartoon DVD in Sri Lanka," she
Janaki has written and published more than 206 stories so far. Out of
them 31 stories are written in English while the rest are in Sinhala.
Janaki is not merely a fairy story teller, but a writer who has educated
children with facts in many subjects. In 'Vahi Lihini Patiya' (the
Pelican), she discusses about the water cycle. Space science is based on
'Pitasakwala Kumaraya' (The alien prince), and in Achcharu Hotale (the
hotel) Janaki gives factual information about Economics, how to start a
business, how to do market research and many more. This information is
included in the body of the story and a child who reads it doesn't for a
moment realise that he or she is reading in-depth facts of a widely
accepted subject as it is presented in the story book in a simple and
easy-to-understand technique with vibrant colours and eye-catching
The child learns them without realising that he is studying it as he
thinks he's reading another children's story. Janaki was awarded with
the Bunka Award of Japan in 2005, and also won the State Literary Award
of Sri Lanka in 2004 and 2007. Two of her books; Magic Soup and Giant
Mushroom are assigned for case study in the Department of Child
Psychology in Carnegie Mellon University of Pittsburgh, USA. Her story,
Sindu has been translated into 14 languages.
"It's high time to change the methods of teaching in Sri Lanka.
That's why I am involved in this kind of work. Pinchi and the Alphabet'
is a result of tedious work carried out over three years. I have spent
over Rs 10 million to complete it. The satisfaction I got after
launching the DVD is worth more than what I've spent. I think this is a
meritorious act and I have fulfilled an enormous task for children,"
Hope her endeavour turns a new page in the education system in Sri