Not many of us have had the chance to visit the Republic of Naminara, but then again how many of us have had a chance to go to Fairyland!
The Republic of Naminara or Nami Island is a small island in South Korea, but it can be mistaken for Red Riding hood’s forest, Sleeping Beauty’s garden or an island where Snow White and the seven dwarfs might have lived. It is a land of fairytales. Not only has nature blessed this island with an abundance of beauty but the people living on this island have done a lot to preserve and add to it.
How did I ever hear of this little piece of fairyland on earth? Well the credit for that goes to the International Board of Books for Young People (IBBY). This organization has members and national sections all over the world and they promote reading and good literature for children. As part of their efforts to make reading fun the KBBY (The Korean section of IBBY) holds an annual book festival on Nami Island every year, and as the Alif Laila Book Bus Society is also a member of the IBBY or is the Pakistani section of IBBY I had the pleasure of going to Nambook 2008 to represent none other than…GUSTO! A Pakistani national children’s magazine of which I am the editor. We had a lovely stall there for Pakistan and in order to show some of our colorful culture to Korean children we conducted a block-printing workshop. The children loved block-printing paper and then covering little journals with it. The fun however, did not stop there, the children also got to embellish the journals using gota (traditional Pakistani braids and ribbons) and flowers, sequins and mirrors and were able to see for themselves the wonders of the colorful Pakistani culture!