The Malta experience after 4 years away from the island and the birth of my 1st paper baby

[ 0 ] 02/03/2020 |
Where am I from? book – photo by Julia Bka

I find it hard to believe it has been 4 years since the day I left Malta and moved to Norway. Where did the years go? My husband and I left Malta with a 3-year-old and a baby in the belly, and now the kids were old enough for me to leave them behind, and travel alone back to my other ‘home’ country.

And the emotions splashed over me as huge waves from the moment I reached Maltese soil. I can’t count the times my eyes welled up with tears of joy and happiness during my 7-day stay. I got to see many familiar faces from our life before, but unfortunately, I also got to miss seeing some people that I really wanted to. Many of us are parents now, and I was on a tight schedule. That’s life these days. You see, I came back to Malta not only to see my sister and friends but also for the birth of another baby of mine, my 1st paper baby. Yes, Malta gave me my first baby child, and this country also provided a safe space for my first paper baby to take shape. So I stayed at my sister’s place, and I embarked on a mini book tour.

I arrived late on 19/02, and the 1st thing I did in the morning was to get myself ready for a school visit at Mariam Albatool School. I felt very welcomed by my publisher Joanne Micallef, Faraxa Publishing, the Head of School Kenneth Busuttil, and Brian Vassallo, who wrote two chapters in the guide How to Raise Confident Multicultural Children, the teaches, and of course, the kids! The kids were brilliant.

I need to mention here that I am terrified of public speaking. The first time I was hired to make a presentation in front of librarians and teachers about my personal story and the book Where am I from?, I practiced my speech in front of the mirror a minimum 100 times. This technique would make sure that no matter how stressed I felt, I would be able to deliver the speech and maintain a good voice flow. And it worked.

Mariam Albatool school
Naxxar elementary school

But with the kids everything felt different. You see, the kids are not afraid of showing how they feel. They’re very raw and genuine in their emotions, and you can understand right away what works and what doesn’t work. I could read them. I felt relaxed, and happy, and I enjoyed every minute I spent with them.

St. Paul’s Bay elementary school

They were inspired, and they talked about the books they’ve read, the books they’re writing themselves and art. During the 1h presentation-workshop, I talked to them about my story, the writers’ tools, and I showed them on a projector how did we create Where am I from?. And you can bet they asked a lot of questions. Then we coloured language portraits, coloring pages from the book and we did a global citizen passport activity.

I left the school with gifts from the kids; some of them gave me a hug and their colouring pages to take home, whereas a boy, Omar, called me in his classroom and gave me a book he had written himself, to take it home with me. This is when I felt it clear that you know what, this is it. This is what I am supposed to be doing in life. I’ve found my path.

During the next days I got to visit more schools; San Anton, St. Paul’s Bay and Naxxar elementary. Very warm welcomes there as well, happy, energetic kids, full of life. I also hosted a storytelling event at Little Stars in Swatar (you might be able to find a few more signed copies there if you hurry or directly via Faraxa Publishing), and a book signing event at Agenda, The Point, Sliema.

San Anton elementary school

At Agenda, Sliema
At Little Stars, Swatar

Another highlight – I got to meet in person 3 of the kids based on whom we created 3 of the main book characters!

John from Australia book character
Eva from Malta

In other news, Where am I from ? has been receiving raving reviews, including a 5-star review by Readers’ Favorite! When I read that email, granting us the opportunity to use this shiny seal on our book cover, I literally had to pinch myself!

Where am I from? is now available for purchase in Malta via Faraxa, Little Stars and the Agenda Bookstores. Internationally, you can also order it directly via Faraxa, or via any of the major retailers like Amazon, Book Depository (free delivery), Barnes and Noble (10% discount offer right now, and free delivery in the USA) in both paperback and hardback format.

In the meantime, I also published the guide I curated How to Raise Confident Multicultural Children which has been described as must-have for all parents and educators who work and care for children of mixed cultural backgrounds and/or bilingual and multilingual children. Shortly after its release, it reached a sales rank of 176,545 on Amazon out of the millions of books sold on this platform!

If you would like to see more pictures and read more updates related to my Malta visit, join my FB group here or follow my personal profile on FB.

As always, thank you for reading.

I wish you a lovely day,

Love, Liza.

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