Joseph Sultana: a book can take your kids a long way

[ 0 ] 18/04/2014 |


*Guest writer Joseph Sultana


Growing up in a family where mum and my sisters read books, it was a short time for me until I got the passion for reading too. My late grandparents and dad weren’t what you can call bookworms, being illiterate as in their times books were just as rare as finding a gem. My sisters, being both ten years older than me, grew in a period of time where Malta was still opening its first schools, thus, not being a rich family and school wasn’t obligatory, they left for work at an early age [1]. I was the only one in the family that kept on studying until Higher Secondary.

Having said this, my very first ten years of living weren’t focused at all on books; in fact I despised literature with a passion. However, a very close encounter with tragedy in my puberty phase changed my life forever, at least on my point of view over books. I started reading, mostly mysteries and horrors (never was the orthodox kind of teenager), and in a way I couldn’t describe at that moment, I was so fascinated by the way stories were presented that my imagination, which I thought was sealed in a dark vault, all of a sudden was released in a wild rage.

It was at the age of 15 that I tried to write something, but due to a high level of immaturity and lack of writing techniques, it took me another decade to pull my ideas together. The books that truly thought me on how to perfection my skills were Murder on the Orient Express, written by Dame Agatha Christie and The Stand, penned down by Mr Stephen King. To this day I still praise these gifted authors, who, beyond her grave, or without his knowledge, gave the necessary fuel to the spark lit in me. In the end, against all odds, I succeeded in publishing my first book at the age of 28.

I’m a guy (author if you want) that reads a lot of heavy-themed books, but I’m also fascinated when mystery mixes with fantasy. Having written so far books for teens and adults, and acted as an editor for upcoming writers and poets, Ms Arkolaki being one of them (I don’t use the title Mrs anymore as I feel it to be too old style), I’m now concentrating to write stories even for kids.

During the four years that I’ve been in this book business I heard a lot of mothers telling us that since this new technology evolved everywhere, interest in books is now lacking. It’s a big disappointment to hear this as there are still a lot of books that need our attention to be uncovered. The sensation of paper is unique and electronic devices, while they’re comfortable in a way, kill that sense of having a “live creature” in your hands. While we’re approaching even more a futuristic world, this can never shake off the feeling of having a book in your hands.

Of course, I can’t force anyone to buy books, but trust me, there are still a lot of people out there that will take a book before even thinking of buying some device. I know people who despite having hundreds of books, they buy new shelves to keep more. In the end a book is never a waste of money, but can teach something in a way or another. If parents keep their interest focused on books, and live the same adventure that’s written between papers, it would be easier for kids to the same thing. With devices, this is not possible. A book has the advantage of being shared without using equipment and people can discuss about it. Do you ever discuss stories with your kids?

Now, I am no parent and can’t teach paternity, but if you allow me I wish to make some suggestions. Your kids depend on you, and although they’ve their own intelligence and cunning, I suggest you raise them by loving books. But you mustn’t act as if you’re just simply giving a book. Act that you’re giving them an adventure that will keep them occupied. Give them a book and suggest to them this is a magical gift that once opened, it will put you in a fantastic world where your dreams can become reality. Also suggest that books can be enjoyed with friends. Books can be discussed and whatever they represent, they’re there to be a guide.

At the time being, after many quests from parents, I’m writing an adventure for all ages that according to my plans, will deliver more than just a story. In the meantime, take care of giving your kids the best love a parent can: by giving a gift of a book, that once opened, you won’t dare to close it back.



*Joseph Sultana is a friendly guy, with a down-to-earth attitude and has his own reservation of patience. His writing debut came in September 2010, when at 28 years old, he successfully published his first book entitled Misteru Ark-Anum. Recently Joseph has become very popular in Malta due to his record-breaking publication of 6 books in just under 4 years, making him the fastest producer of literature on such a small scale country within a short period of time. You can find him on Facebook, in the Vision+ Facebook group (a group that he created with the sole purpose of promoting new artists involved mainly in the forms of art and literature, and with a number of works being sold for charity purposes) or on his website



[1] The school became obligatory in the early ’80s. By the late ’70s Malta was still under British influence and only students with rich parents were accepted at school.



Category: Guest posts

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