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New Maltese storybook about childhood in the past

New Maltese storybook about childhood in the past

Karamellu tar-Raħal t-Isfel – L-Ewwel Ktieb is a collection of 10 stories in Maltese, accompanied by specifically designed colourful visuals, about childhood in a Maltese village, before things like TV, computers, internet and mobiles did not exist.

Karamellu is boy born and bred in a worker’s family that used to live in the part of the village of Żejtun, which is known as ir-Raħal t’Isfel. The author of the stories is this boy, Carmel Charles Buttigieg, who signs off as Nannu Karm in the book.

The book was launched on 26 October 2021, at the Żejtun Primary School, which also happens to be the same school the author used to attend as a child. The launch was made possible as a result of the permission and cooperation of the heads of the two sections of the school, Saviour Sammut (Primary school A) and Edmond Pace (Primary school B). Also present was the mayor of Żejtun, Maria Dolores Abela and David Muscat, the CEO of the National Literacy Agency, as the 100-page book is being published with the cooperation of the Agency.

What are the stories about?

Some of the Karamellu stories were inspired by true experiences of the author himself. Other stories also introduce the reader to how certain people and characters in the life of Carmel Charles used to live and behave, when he was a small boy.

In general, the narratives offer an idea of the life patterns of children and their families many years ago, together with their way of life in a calm and serene environment, where everyone knew each other and there was no shortage of exciting moments!

author, Carmel Charles Buttigieg and Maria Dolores Abela

What is the author trying to achieve?

The main aim of the Karamellu stories is to offer new generations easy-to-read and pleasing anecdotes that would help them to get to know and understand the kind of village culture and environment that children of years gone by were brought up in. At the same time, the stories also offer some nostalgic reading for elders, especially for those who like to read and recount narratives to children, about the time when they themselves were young and living in Malta.

The idea to start compiling the Karamellu stories in books is rooted in the impressive support that the stories received when they started being posted on Facebook during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, with many readers soliciting the publication of the stories in  book form. In fact, Facebook has seen a whopping 64 Karamellu stories to date.

CN Creative Designs are the designers and setters of the book.