‘Ryan to the Moon’ is a fantasy tale written for children aged six to eight by Eranda Ginige. It is a story of a young boy and his adventures through the magic forest with his friends Tim and Jack, as they journey to the moon to rescue Ryan’s parents from the evil dragon.
“It took me only a week or so to type the script. But it took over three years to find somebody who can illustrate the characters and scenes to suit my imagination,” Ginige said. The book is scattered with beautiful and imaginative illustrations drawn by the talented artist and designer Ruwangi Amarasinghe. “The long three year wait was worth it,” he said.
Ryan to the Moon will be launched on Sunday 24 March at 4.00 p.m. at the Park Street Mews (Checkerboard) where Ginige will read his favourite chapter, and sign copies which will be available for purchase.
The book is available for purchase at all M.D. Gunasena bookshops and leading bookshops around the country starting from 25 March. It will also be available on www.thebookhub.lk. This is a free event organised at Colombo Scope 2013, a festival of literature, film, art, music and dance.
Eranda Ginige explained: “I was walking with my wife and two-year-old son along the deserted neighbourhood lanes on a warm Sunday afternoon. It was one of those days when you could see the pale white moon floating against the clear blue sky. That was three years ago but I still remember how my son lifted his head up and pointed his tiny fingers at the moon. In his baby words he said ‘Give me’.
“Then I smiled and said, son, I can give you anything, but not the moon. That’s when I thought what if a little boy wanted to go to the moon! By the time we returned home it was dark, the moon was higher and I had the entire story laid out in my mind.”
Having being selected by M.D. Gunasena, the unmistakable brand that taught the nation to read to publish his first book, he says it is still unreal to him. “I remember the numerous times that my father took me to their bookshop in Pettah, where I spent hours and hours discovering treasures buried under piles of books or hidden behind the racks.
“I usually win at least 10 prizes at the annual school prize giving at Prince of Wales’ College. The prizes were M.D. Gunasena vouchers. By the time I left school, I had a small library in my room.”
He also said that his friends are astonished to hear about the book: “Many of my friends are surprised to hear that I wrote a children’s story book. I always thought I’ll continue Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s Space Odyssey.
“But all I have written is about, dozen short science fictions, which is a collecting of digital dust inside a hard drive. Big books with big ideas never made it beyond the third chapter. But it is surprising once again.”
He said that it was no easy task writing a children’s storybook. One should think like a six year old, use simple language and short sentences that rhyme too often. One should be able to build characters they are related to, add just the right suspense to keep them interested.
“Most importantly, teach a moral lesson for their life. Ryan to the Moon is about an ordinary boy doing something extraordinary. I didn’t want to create another modern cartoon hero with special powers because I think there are plenty of them around these days.
“I wanted to write a good-old fairy tale with a touch of modern fantasy. If you get a chance to read my book, you will see that I have indeed blended science into the fantasy in a more child friendly manner.
The many Russian translations which I read as a child, must have influenced the humanised characters in the story. Perhaps it’s a book for young and old.” Ginige said.