Booktalk with Navindu


By Kusumanjalee Thilakarathna

This week on Little Stars is a passionate book collector and an avid reader. He not only reads but also shares what he feels about the books he reads on his YouTube channel “Booktalk with Navindu”. With the support of his parents, he also maintains a Facebook page, where he can interact with his 3,600-plus followers. This book reviewer, Navindu Wijewardena, is still 11 years old.   


You have an impressive collection of books Navindu. Approximately how many books do you have in your collection?

There are approximately over 500 books in my collection.


Can you also tell us how you collected this many books, and have you read them all?

Almost all these books were bought by my parents. Most of the time I receive these books because of my educational achievements. Normally, my parents buy these books from the International Book Exhibition at the BMICH, The Big Bad Wolf, the British Council Library clearance sales, and leading bookstores in Sri Lanka. I have read almost all of them and my parents continuously buy books for me.


Do you only read English books?

No. I read Sinhala books too, because they are also interesting.


Tell us more about yourself.

My full name is Lekamlage Navindu Hasmitha Wijewardena. I go to Nalanda College, Colombo 10 and I study in grade seven (English medium). I have a younger brother. I like to play the thammattama and sing Jana Gee. My hobbies are cycling and playing my electric organ.


Can you remember how old you were when you first started reading by yourself?

I quite remember reading my first book, a Sinhala book, at the age of three.


Movies or books?

Obviously, I choose books, but I also watch movies when I get a chance. When a new movie is released in Sri Lanka, we would try to go and watch that movie. We have Netflix, where they grade movies according to your age. Since I don’t watch television, I really enjoy movies. Still, I do not watch Sinhala-dubbed movies.


Why do you think reading is better than watching movies?

Because we can read books no matter the place, position, and time. But if you are watching a movie, you have limited time and space. In my opinion, books can take you to a whole new world of fantasy, in comparison to movies, and some books are totally shadowed by the movies, like the How to Train Your Dragon book series.


Can you recommend five books to our Little Stars readers?  

  •   The Magic School Bus by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen – this is a book series which is very good to gain knowledge
  •   The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton – this series has 15 books which can relax you
  •   The Famous Five by Enid Blyton – with 21 books, this series can reduce your stress
  •   The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – This book series of seven is fantastic. You would love to get your hands on these
  •   James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl – this is another marvellous book you would love


What are your favourite genres?

I would say comedy and action are my favourite genres, but I also like mystery and adventure.


Do you have any advice for avid readers like you?

To find a good book, first you have to explore your favourite genre. Then, you can find a good book from that category. Also, maintaining the correct posture is very important, and without it, you would have physical and mental problems.


When did you start ‘Booktalk with Navindu’ on YouTube? Whose idea was it?

Booktalk with Navindu, my YouTube channel, is a channel which talks about the various books I have read throughout my life. The books read by me include many genres like comedy, mystery, adventure, manga, action, etc., but my favourites are comedy and manga.

One day, I did my first-ever presentation on the book How to Train Your Dragon: How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury at a “Pick a Book Juniors” session. After that session, my father asked me: “Why don’t we start a YouTube channel on books?” At first, I was a little sceptical, but after some time, right before the lockdown, I found this sudden passion to start the YouTube channel and finally pursued it after the lockdown commenced. By using the minimum resources at home, the first book I spoke about on the channel, Captain Underpants, was the first step.

My special thanks go out to my parents who inspired me to read in various ways. Luckily, my father had very valuable knowledge about new media technology. I have to give my thanks to everyone for giving me 1,000 subscribers within two months!


How often do you do reviews on YouTube?

I do it around once a week.


What about the feedback you receive? Does it help you improve?

The feedback is very valuable. My first videos had some audio issues, and it was the feedback that helped me correct it. I appreciate it.


What is your ambition?

My ambition is to be a scientist.


Navindu’s achievements:

  •   Appointed as the mentor of the first Sri Lankan Pick a Book Juniors club in 2020 (Pick a Book Juniors is an international book reading club)
  •   Second place in the Mischief Makers Summer Reading Challenge conducted by the British Council Library in 2018
  •   Member of the team which won the Space Chase Summer Reading Challenge conducted by the British Council Library in 2019
  •   Cub Scout Gold Star holder (2019)
  •   Badminton novice champion (Under 11) at the Nalanda College Sports Meet in 2018
  •   Obtained 185 marks at the Grade Five Scholarship Exam in 2018