The Floating Hat: A Lesson on kindness and sympathy

The Floating Hat is a beautiful tale celebrating the qualities of kindness and friendship. It is a story which transcends all cultures and nations, and which people of all ages will be able to relate to.

Children are born with an inherent inclination towards goodness, and it is so important that we cherish and nurture this goodness so that they can practice it wherever they may go. As humans, understanding how others are feeling and having empathy for those in need is essential to building strong communities, and The Floating Hat is a wonderful lesson on kindness and sympathy.

In this picture book, some little children are playing to their hearts content alongside a beautiful riverside, surrounded by flowers, butterflies and fish. That’s until they suddenly notice that there’s something strange in the river. An elderly man’s hat has fallen into the fast-flowing waters and he is obviously distressed. Without a moment’s hesitation the children leap to his assistance, and they work with the elderly man to solve the problem. They come up with a clever solution in no time, and there are smiles, laugher and happiness all around at the end. Illustrated by Erushmie Karunaratne and written by Lilani Dias, The Floating Hat is a precious and invaluable addition to any child’s (or adult’s) bookshelf.

Lilani Dias resides in Baddegama, and she is a graduate from the prestigious University of Colombo’s Faculty of Arts with an Honors Degree in English. What’s more, she completed a Diploma in Translation and Interpretation at the University of Kelaiya.

At the moment, Lilani works as a freelance content writer, content editor, and proofreader, and she also works as an editor at the Queen of Sea Publishers.

Lilani’s journey as a writer began a long time ago, and it has been a crucial part of her life for as long as she can remember. By the time she was 16, she had already published three poetry collections!

A passionate advocate for children and animals, Lilani is an unapologetic advocate who has mastered the art of the written word in order to raise awareness and critique the discrimination and violence which continues to be perpetrated against women, children and animals. She also has experience working as a Visitor Educator for the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Arts in Sri Lanka, for their exhibition One Hundred Thousand Small Tales. The Floating Hat is the first storybook she has written for children, and it is certainly an incredibly promising testimony to her potential as a children’s writer.

Erushmie Karunaratne is an incredibly gifted children’s illustrator, creative designer, and artist. She has long been captivated by the endless potential of human creativity, particularly the art of storytelling through visual mediums.

Her passion lead her to pursue her studies at CMS Ladies’ College, Colombo 07 in the Arts. She didn’t stop there, however, and she continues her studies at the University of Moratuwa, BA in Integrated Design.

She also created a website in 2019, “E Design Square’, which functions as a digital gallery for her art as well as a platform through which she works as a creative designer with numerous brands. What truly differentiates Erushmie as an artist is her willingness to experiment, exploring acrylic, watercolour, charcoal and digital illustration.

The pictures in the Floating Hat are brightly coloured and deeply meaningful, and touchingly reminiscent of the way in which children see the world with such wonder and amazement. There’s no doubt that the reason Erushmie’s illustrations are so evocative is because she seeks inspiration from her own experiences. Amongst her earliest recollections as a child are memories of her reading the gorgeous children’s books her mother would bring her. She remembers being so fascinated by the pictures leaping out to her from the pages before her, and she would immerse herself in the magical stories brought to life as written word and drawn pictures were seamlessly interwoven with one another.

The flowing words are enriched by the vivid illustrations, and The Floating Hat delivers a message with a truly memorable impact. Picture books are a wonderful way for children to learn about the world, develop their comprehension skills, and explore their inquisitiveness and love for adventure. At the end of the Floating Hat, the children are happy because the elderly man is happy, and that is the essence of this tale.

True happiness is derived from giving happiness to others, and the world will undoubtedly become a better place once we really understand this. And with such a beautifully written and presented story, any child reading it will truly appreciate the value of kindness, working together and empathy.

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