An Endearing Gift for Little Heroes
By Lilani Anuruddhika
Two years ago in 2018, Thalatha Wijerathna authored Little Heroes of Randeniya, a book that was lovingly received into the world of children’s fiction. 2020 brings happy news of the publishing of the sequel to this enticing story – An Adventure of the Little Heroes.
Wasantha and Samantha - the two brothers we meet in the first book, have shifted to their new residence in Midigama with their family. The story opens with the naturally adventurous Southern coast, where the family settles down amongst a friendly multicultural community.
Their new friend Ranjith and the novelty he brings, along with the effortless friendship between the children despite their different religions cover a much needed topic in Sri Lanka - ethnic harmony. The children and their adults share their traditional foods and enjoy the company of each other. From the picturesque descriptions of New Year and Wesak in the first book, Wijerathna takes the readers to a vivid celebration of Christmas in the new book, and to the common coastal jollity of flying kites.
In the first book we meet a group of children who walk into adventures without thinking about safety. However, in this new adventure, Wijerathna shows how the little heroes have learnt from their past experiences, and are more mature and careful with their adventures, teaching the readers of wit and wisdom alike.
Wijerathna skilfully teaches her young readers about the cultural practices and norms valued by Sri Lankans. Family becomes a centre where children find enrichment for their souls in the loving company of grandparents. How Sri Lankan families help each other is narrated in a simple, yet impactful manner. Yashoda Kaluarachchi’s colourful drawings in the book accompany and complement one’s imagination of the scenarios. The use of bright colours will be an eye-catching experience for young readers.
An Adventure of the Little Heroes is written in simple English with an easy flow so that the book can be recommended to introduce young readers to English literature. Wijerathna uses Sinhala words to refer to specific family members as well as foods, plants, and other proper nouns, which are explained in the accompanying glossary. This helps the book to carry an ingrained Sri Lankan aura that will make Sri Lankan readers feel familiar and close with the characters.
For non-Sri Lankan readers, An Adventure of the Little Heroes published by Queen of Sea Publishers will bring an experience of Southern beaches and Sri Lankan norms that will paint a lasting imprint on their minds. Further, they will get a chance to learn some Sinhala words as well! With all these facets of the book, An Adventure of the Little Heroes will be an invaluable gift for every child’s book case.