Meet 4-year-old Chryseis Knight. Chryseis is possibly the youngest child author in Singapore – she started reading at the age of 1, and published her first book at the age of three!
Her recent book is “The Great Big Lion” which is a fiction book for ages 2 to 10. Chryseis is going to be doing book launches at Popular Bookstore and National Library in Singapore.
She has a series of 5 more books that are in the process of publishing. She is also all set to host a TEDx youth event in Abu Dhabi.
Again, she is only four.
We talk to Chryseis’ mum and dad, Verin Kaur Giovanni and Girish Giovanni, on how they raised this little genius!
Story of 4-year-old child author in Singapore
Did you know that Chryseis learned how to read at the age of one?! We wonder if she was born gifted or was there something special that her parents did to nurture her intelligence?
Daddy Girish tells us, “Yes, Chryseis was diagnosed gifted by a psychologist in Singapore and entered into MENSA at the age of 2.”
Were there other signs that she was gifted, we ask.
“Yes, I remember her singing the Adele song, “Hello” word for word at the age of 2. I was shocked. I told my wife you got to see this and we played the song again using our phone and she stood in front of us and sang the whole song,” says daddy Girish, who is Marketing Manager at PIGEON Singapore. Mummy Verin is an educator.
Girish also remembers that Chryseis responded well to books as a baby.
“She was quick to respond when we changed the words in the book as we read it. She would correct us. We started noticing her abilities when we realised she could recite an entire story to us, purely from memory.”
How she developed a love for writing
So when did Chryseis start writing? Was she quick to learn new words?
“She started writing journals and her thoughts at the age of 2. Every day when I came back from work, she would show it to me.”
“Her spelling and grasp of the words were on point most of the time. She finally decided to write a book when we were about to have Cruise (who is now 2). She would dream the stories and tell it to us and eventually when Cruise was born, she wrote the story, now titled “The Great Big Lion”, in a day.”
“At that time, she was already reading more than 5 books in a day – and she would jump stories throughout the day. We would find her books opened, but upside down, in the bedroom, dining table, couch, her playmat and the coffee table because she read them halfway whilst still reading another”, recalls daddy Girish.
Encouraging the love for reading and writing
How did you as parents encourage her love for reading and writing?
“While other children needed candy and ice cream and iPhones and toys, our daughter simply wanted more books. And that’s what we did – we bought books”, says Girish.
We caught a sneak peek of “The Great Big Lion”, and we must say, it’s a super-cute book in handwritten font, with eye-catching illustrations.
The simple story centres around the importance of being inclusive, embracing differences and accepting diversity.
“This is a story I wrote for my brother Cruise”, writes Chryseis, in the very first page.
Were the book’s illustrations her idea too? How easy was it to get a book published in Singapore?
Girish tells us, “She draws and yes, the creatives were hers. My wife Verin did the illustrations while Chryseis created the artwork through painting, colouring and all the crafty parts like cutting, glueing etc.”
“We noticed very early on that whenever she coloured, she would always colour within the lines provided – this to us was amazing.”
“She is also very clear about the direction of her artwork. For instance, the choice of fabric for the lion’s mane. While she was walking past a textile store with her brother and mother, one day, she went ahead to speak to the tailors to ask if she could have the scrap fabric that was on the floor.”
“She eventually came home with a big bag filled with the fabric.”
“It was not easy to get the book published – everyone had a reason or an excuse not to sign her but we never gave up especially when it is Chryseis we are talking about. Her talent needs to be known and recognised.”
Who are her favourite authors? And what kind of books does she normally like to read?
“She doesn’t really have any for now because most books we bought have been around a wide variety of authors.”
“She bounces from Enid Blyton to Roald Dahl to, you name it, even Leonard Cohen’s poems. Recently she also picked up The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle”, says Girish.
Lastly, what advice do you have for other parents on encouraging their children to read?
“Go for it. Take the cue from your child and go with what they like first. In this way, as parents, we will be able to instil the joy of reading.”
Here’s wishing this cute little author and her family more success and beautiful memories ahead!
If you want to know more about Chryseis, visit www.chryseisknight.com. ‘The Great Big Lion’ will be launched on 11-11-2018 at the National Library (Bras Basah) at 2:30 pm.
*This article is from our archives and Chryseis is currently 6-year-old.
Also READ: This Gifted Child In Singapore Is Only 4 But Already Knows The Periodic Table!