Kanyika Kini

Patrick Marsh Middle School Reading Specialist and Go Global Club Advisor Sandra Kowalczyk has long promoted books as powerful and accessible ways for students to travel. On Friday, Oct. 18, students were provided opportunities to travel to the fictional village of Baddbaddpur, India, through interactive presentations by Kanyika Kini, illustrator of the picture book, The Rumor.

Written by Anushka Ravishankar, The Rumor is set in the Baddbaddpur, (Gossip Town) where the people like to tell tales. Students delighted in listening to Kini read about Pandurang, a protagonist so dour that he can make milk turn sour. One day he coughs up a feather. As the story of Pandurang’s feather is passed from one person to another it grows and grows and grows until it can hardly be recognized.

Kina followed up her read alouds with presentations about the process of working on a story, conducting research, and creating illustrations.

Kini, originally form Bangalore, India and currently a freelance web designer based in Munich, Germany, traveled to Wisconsin to be honored with a 2013 South Asia Book Award (SABA) for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, on Saturday October 19, at a ceremony in Madison.

The South Asia Book Award, administered by the South Asia National Outreach Consortium, is given annually for up to two outstanding works of literature, from early childhood to secondary reading levels, which accurately and skillfully portrays South Asia or South Asians in the diasporas, that is the experience of individuals living in South Asia, or of South Asians living in other parts of the world.

Patrick Marsh Middle School was invited to host Kanyika Kini by Rachel Weiss, Assistant Director of the Center for South Asia at UW-Madison and Coordinator of the South Asia Book Award.

As an undergraduate, Kowalczyk spent a semester studying in northern India, with a study tour in Nepal. In 2003, she was one of 15 teachers who traveled to southern India with Weiss on a Fulbright-Hays Curriculum Development Project to internationalize curricula in Wisconsin schools. Throughout the years, Kowalczyk and Weiss continue to collaborate on teaching about South Asia in classrooms and promoting globally minded books for children and young adults.

Last year, Patrick Marsh Middle School hosted Padma Venkatraman, author of the 2012 SABA Award for Island’s End, a novel set in the Andaman Islands.

Art Teacher Dan Davidson and Kowalczyk coordinated Kanyika Kini’s visit to Patrick Marsh. They plan to collaborate on follow-up art and literacy lessons that incorporate South Asian children’s and young adult literature and richly illustrated books.

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