Young author with NASA dreams

By Kusumanjalee Thilakarathna

Sanaya Gunawardena is a grade six student from St. John’s Girls’ School, Panadura who dreams of becoming a NASA scientist in future. She takes pleasure in writing stories and reading books.


Sanaya, can you tell us more about yourself?

My full name is Thinuki Sanaya Gunawardena, and I am in grade six now. I reside in Panadura. I have an older brother and his name is Thevinu. He is a really good musician and an inspiration to me.

I like to read every time I get a chance to, and this has helped me a lot to improve my writing. I really love learning about insects. When I am outside in the garden, I spend a lot of time observing the insects I find there.


What are the books you have written and what inspired you to write those?


One is “Akeekaru wanduru patau” ( the disobedient baby monkeys) and the other one is “Punchi kurulu patiya” (the tiny baby bird). Both these stories are based on incidents I have observed.

I was encouraged to write because of the books I read. Before the pandemic, I used to love reading books from our school library and going to the public library with my mother. 


Since when have you written stories?


Since I was six or seven years old. But these books I published were written last year during the time I spent at home when schools were closed due to the pandemic.


What is your favourite book?


Out of all the books I have read, my favourite book is “Kuda Hora” by Sybil Wettasinghe. I adore all her books.


Why do you like her books?


Because of the storylines. They are very different from the other books I read. And I love her illustrations too. Those illustrations are so unique.


Do you play any sports?


I used to play chess and go for swimming lessons, but I had to stop these due to the pandemic. I might restart once the county’s situation is back to normal.


Your mother says you are learning to play the piano. Is that correct? 


Yes. I am going to music classes too. The piano is my favourite instrument. My brother is the inspiration behind my passion for music. He is a very good musician, always guiding me when I learn music.


What is your ambition? 


I would love to join NASA one day. I love to learn about space, planets, moons and stars. It is my dream to join NASA one day.