Monday, December 7, 2015

Intolerance and all that Jazz ! , so what's kid lit got to do with it ?

It has indeed been a tense year , the world over.

With attacks in Paris to the growing intolerance debates in India , to the latest floods in Chennai, there is a lot that the world has lost this year  - and that includes peace and tolerance !

Today , unfortunately social media is no longer a platform where you reunite with friends from school and college.

 Today we are made aware of  most national and international news through social media . There are heated arguments, debates view points  and trolls strewn all over the wall .

 Try as much as you can to keep yourself away from social media, we come back every day - only to witness more hatred and negativity ejected  around.

So what does growing intolerance , and terrorism got to do in a kid lit blog you ask?

Talking of tolerance, I chanced upon Strega nona - a story  about an aging witch and a young man , Anthony that comes to stay in her home.

Strega nona  is a friendly witch who helps her town people with their every day challenges and problems. She hires Anthony  to take care of her house and farm.  While Strega nona gives the lad complete access to her house, she warns him never to touch a pot that lies in her home.

Anthony goes about his daily routine of milking the cows and goats , washing the dishes and keeping the house clean.

However one day, by chance  , he hears her singing and on peeking, notices her standing by her pot .

As soon as she sang ....

    Bubble Bubble Pasta pot
    Boil me some pasta ,nice and hot
    I am hungry and its time to sup
    Boil enough pasta to fill me up

 he watched  the pasta pot boil and bubble and overflow with steaming hot pasta.

Curiosity gets the better of him and when she is away , he utters the same magic spell and tries his luck at the cooking  some hot pasta.

But what he didn't know was that the witch also blew 3 kisses at the pot to stop cooking more pasta.

Taking pride at his pasta magic, Anthony invites the entire village folk for a feast. But soon trouble starts to brew when the magic pot cannot stop cooking  pasta.

The entire village is flooded by the pasta spewing out of the pot and there is no stopping. Anthony tries sitting on the pot, he tries closing the pot but hard luck ! the pot continues to cook and flood the town with pasta .!

Strega Nona arrives on time to save the village from drowning in pasta

And the kind but stern witch that she was  - can you guess what punishment she gave the lad ?

She made him eat all the pasta with a fork - until he could take no more !

There you see - wasn't Strega nona the most  tolerant witch ever seen ?

In her anger , she could have brandished him with her magic spells. She could have turned him into pasta and cooked him in the pasta pot or she would have cast a spell and turned him into a lizard or a bee ! but she chose her curse carefully and ensured he had a taste of his own medicine.

What we type and post on social media in a huff ! leaves a lasting impression about us on people  who read our posts every day. After all - a pen is mightier than the sword, ain't it ?

So I hope what we choose to  SHARE and how we choose to REACT   and share on social media is sane enough for us to come back and feel proud of ,  else  who knows - one day you may have to gulp down some bitter pill  like the lad in the story .

oh boy ! I didn't intend to write something so serious as a sermon .

 The story is filled with wit and I love the illustrations as much as the story. The book is a Caldecott honor .  It was one of the "Top 100 Picture Books" of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal.[3]

And here's wishing One story a day , Divya and her kids many years of shared learning, reading and laughter !

Happy 2016 everyone !


  1. Fantastic read and makes me think twice before shouting at my naughty kids.

  2. That's a lovely story - makes me smile :) Nice touch of 'tolerance' to it.

    1. Thanks Gayathri. I am glad you liked the review