Jishnu: Making his “Mark”

Jishnu Mukhergee won the annual creative Bookmark Contest for the second year in a row. Photo by Denis Hanigan

Jishnu Mukhergee is nine. In those few years he has accomplished some admirable feats. His latest achievement is having won the annual creative Bookmark Contest in the “Third through Fifth Grade” category, hosted by the County of Los Angeles Public Library, for the second year in a row.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl made the final selection for this year’s theme off “Read for The Fun of It” from more than 8,500 entries.

Our own Topanga Library team reports, “We are extremely proud to have Jishnu represent Topanga Library for a second year in a row,” said Library Manager and his staff. “He is a voracious reader and extremely talented at expressing himself through art. As his local library, we love supporting these interests and watching him grow and can’t wait to see where his passion for creativity and learning will take him next!”

This year’s bookmark is indeed a work of heartfelt art. What Jishnu has done is create fun, fanciful images he designed in keeping with the theme. We have past and present, nature and technology coming together.

He covered it all, producing with a poetic hand, a dinosaur on a skateboard, a rocket ship, a Native American village, a telescope, guitar, leaf, a computer, an old-school piece of mail, a stingray, lightning (high and fast) and a snail (low and slow).  These pictures surround a boy, not unlike Jishnu himself, sitting cross-legged and reading a book. The images seem to spring from the reader’s mind as he turns the pages, beautifully capturing the best of life on our planet today and hope for tomorrow.

In addition to his gift as an artist, the double winner has a winning personality as well. With a sparkle in his eyes and a charming smile, Jishnu reflects on his future. “I might like to be an airplane designer, a writer or maybe a test pilot.  Oh, I was thinking of being an astronaut, or a naturalist. Wait! There’s one more! Now what was it?” He ponders for a moment, not ready to give up. “I know! I remember! An architect.”

One believes he could accomplish any or all of these careers and that the world would derive great benefit from whatever he chose. His wide range of interests are reflected and supported by one of his favorite activities: reading.

Among his current selection are books that vary from Bruce Springsteen to Blackbeard the Pirate. Asked about his favorite books, Jishnu readily pronounces, “The Boy Who Harvested the Wind” by William Kamkwanba.  He also includes the works of E.B. White. One likes to think White would be proud to be mentioned and, even moreso, to think he may have inspired Jishnu’s own writing.

Among his other achievements, Jishnu won the PBS Writer’s Contest for the last three years, with his intriguingly titled stories, “Chillivut Meets Volaxinv & Oldrin,” “Friends On The Moon,” and “Yuoko the Queriot.”

His parents, Somy and Shampa, feel fortunate to have such a creative son.

“The library system has made it possible for us to introduce him to language and arts, and has played a pivotal role in promoting his interests through childhood programs such as story time, summer reading and art activities.”

Watch for the winning bookmark during National Library Week in April and watch for the future contributions of this remarkable young man who adheres to the creed, “Anything is possible.”


Kathie Gibboney

It has been said that Kathie Gibboney invented the Unicorn, which she neither admits nor denies, as it might reveal her true age. Kathie is an essayist, reporter, and poet for MMN with her column, "My Corner of The Canyon." She lives happily in a now-empty nest in Topanga, CA with The Beleaguered Husband and a marmalade cat.

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