An Important Contribution from the Writer of Books for Children and Teenagers

We recently concluded #IOLEGGOPERCHE ‘, the event to which MILE School has participated for many years, which was created to encourage reading by the very young. Among the initiatives which took place over the course of the event, was the participation of Luigi Ballerini, a writer of books for children and teenagers, who was able to share his precious thoughts with MILE School Primary students.

– What are you reading? – that’s how Luigi Ballerini began his talk last Tuesday, November 26, in front of the students of classes V and VI, who had gathered in the auditorium for the occasion.

– Harry Potter, The Baron in the Trees … – someone replied.

– Nothing – replied someone else.

– I Am Zero – said a student, showing Luigi’s novel, and asking him why he had two jobs.

– As a child, I wanted to be a doctor, not a writer. I liked books on disease, the idea of taking care of others; then, when I grew up, I started writing for teenagers … and I’ve never looked back. The most important quality a writer should have is curiosity. I’m sure that there are many of you who are nosy; who peep at strangers’ mobile phones on the tram, or, who, while they are eating in a pizzeria with mom and dad, listen in on the conversations taking place at others’ tables. And that’s why I’m sure that hiding among you nosy parkers, is a writer in the making.

– There are two categories of writers: those who need to be comfortable to do a good job, those who need to devote to their book the entire afternoon; and then there are those like me, who write whenever they can find the time, irrespective of where they are; for example, this morning, I wrote while I was on the subway, making my way over here.

That’s how Luigi can combine his two loves: his medical practice and his writing.

Ballerini brought with him some of his books, which had been translated into various languages. He explained to the students what it means to publish a book: the difficulties of the budding writer, how to choose the right editor for your story, the trust you need to have in your editor and his ability to improve the first drafts of your novel, the selection and importance of the book cover, of titles and formats that may change depending on the publisher and country of publication.

– A writer is not necessarily a Literature graduate: he can be a chemist like Primo Levi, or a psychologist like me. Above all, a writer must be a big reader.

At the end of the talk, Ballerini confessed to the students that the book that made him fall in love with stories when he was a child was Astrid Lindgren’s ‘Seacrow Island’ (published in Italy by Salani as ‘L’isola dei gabbiani’), the writer we all know for her Pippi Longstocking series. After answering many questions, before saying goodbye, Ballerini signed copies of his book, Io sono Zero (I Am Zero), and asked the students to let him have their opinion of the book – a writer also learns from his readers.

MILE School would like to thank all the families, who participated by making a donation to the initiative #IOLEGGO PERCHE’. Thanks to their precious contribution today our school has 140 new texts that enrich our library’s shared heritage.

MILE School Primary students have read Ballerini’s “La signorina Euforbia, maestra pasticciera” (Miss Euphorbia, master pastry chef) (read by classes III and IV) and “Io sono zero” (I Am Zero) (read by classes V and VI).