Bookfest 2022

Dupa tot dorul acumulat in ultimii 2 ani, Bookfest 2022 mi-a lasat impresia unei vizite la … targ. In niciun caz nu una la un Salon International de carte din era digitalizarii. Logistica organizarii unui astfel de eveniment este desigur impresionanta, insa din perspectiva vizitatorului nu s-a vazut deloc asa. A semanat mai mult cu parcugerea unui depozit, fara locuri de stat si savurat o carte buna sau o cafea ( ori macar un pahar cu apa). Gaseai apa pe ici pe colo, picurata de la ventilatoarele din tavan, chiar si la standul Editurii Frontiera se formase o mica balta… M-am oprit la standurile editurilor de unde cumpar in mod frecvent carti, am luat acasa cateva titluri care lipseau colectiei noastre si cam atat.

M-a intampinat chiar in fata intrarii standul editurii Cartier, cartile din colectia Codobelc sunt nestemate la loc de cinste in biblioteca fiicei mele. Putin mai incolo i-am gasit pe cei de la editura Vellant, unde mi-ar fi placut sa gasesc Printesele date uitarii. Dar se pare ca mai am de asteptat, nu au reeditat-o inca.

In lumea cartilor ma simt acasa si inima mea este incantata peste masura sa vada carti frumoase, pentru copii ce vor creste altfel decat am crescut noi. Ilustratii care ma uimesc, versuri fermecate, povesti despre creaturi si aventuri la care nu m-as fi putut gandi altfel. Si ma bucur ca ii putem oferi fiicei mele toate aceste lumi, toate aceste porti deschise catre un univers mare si liber. Si sunt fericita putin si pentru copilul din mine, la 7 ani sigur nu citeam despre Tuimi si lei curajosi, despre robotei plini de iubire si daruire.

Preferatul meu a fost standul grupului editorial Art. Oricum primisem o misiune de acasa: sa ii cumpar si ei o carte Smart blue sau macar una Funny green. Au carti pe alese, cred ca erau toate titlurile lor expuse, am intalnit oameni draguti, un stand luminos, amenajat in culori neutre. Poate mi-a placut si pentru ca era dl. Mircea Cartarescu pe acolo?!

Cele mai minunate carti adunate la un loc intr-un spatiu atat de mic: standul editurii Cartea Copiilor. Oameni foarte draguti si acolo, mi-au dat chiar si o carticica si un calendar cadou. De la ei tocmai pleca dl. Florin Bican, alt motiv de bucurie pentru mine!

Si standul celei mai tinere edituri pentru carte ilustrata, Portocala Albastra, mi-a placut nespus. Titlurile aparute la ei in 2022 si faptul ca nu reusisem inca sa comand online de la ei a fost unul dintre motivele vizitei mele la targ. A fost o mare incantare sa aflu ca l-au tradus, cu ajutorul minunatei si talentatei Lavinia Braniste, pe Claude Ponti. Si ca au retiparit o parte din seria Autobuzul magic.

Cea mai elaborata achizitie facuta la targ este cu siguranta opera lui Radu Oltean, “Cetati, castele si alte fortificatii din Romania”, vol.I si II. Am luat ultimele volume expuse!

Cea mai frumoasa “carte a cartilor”: Valea mea, Claude Ponti, editura Portocala Albastra.

Ce a ales cititorul meu mic din desaga cu carti, odata ajunsa acasa? Autobuzul magic! Pentru ca aceasta serie este preferata ei, atat cartile cat si serialul TV. Si pentru ca a putut citi singura toata cartea si a inteles toate cuvintele scrise cu litere mari de tipar.

Ce mi-as fi dorit sa cumpar si am renuntat in ultimul moment: “Albinele” de Piotr Socha de la editura Frontiera. Am renuntat pentru ca era totusi prea gigantica si nu incapea in desaga mea 🙂

Surpriza cea mai placuta: micul stand al Clubului ilustratorilor romani.

Bookfest, chiar si asa, saracit de emotie si caldura ( in ciuda caniculei de afara), este un loc de vizitat. Oricand, oricum si de preferat cu cei mici. Nu pentru “reduceri”, chilipiruri sau carti primite cadou. Pentru ca nimic nu este gratis, toate au un cost; important este sa il platesti pe cel corect. Reducerile de la targ se anuleaza cumva cu timpul si energia cheltuite pentru a ajunge acolo. Bookfest este un loc de vizitat pentru cartea tiparita, acum cat o mai gasim. Pentru ca fiecare carte este o opera de arta, o lume aparte pe care cineva a imaginat-o, in vorbe sau imagini. Iar altcineva a avut curajul sa o scoata la lumina, sa ne putem bucura si noi de ea.

1 Iunie

Unii dintre noi isi aduc aminte ca sunt patrioti doar pe 1 Decembrie. La fel cum empatia si dorinta de a ii ajuta pe cei aflati la nevoie este cea mai mare atunci cand afla de un necaz, iar ajutorul nu este cel cerut, ci cel oferit de ei. Tot la fel se intampla si cu dragostea si respectul pentru mamele si femeile din viata lor, de 8 Martie le iau flori si le redirectioneaza un mesaj impersonal, primit de la altii; in restul zilelor le uita intr-un colt al existentei lor grabite.

Cu copiii este insa altceva! Cum imi spunea o draga prietena, in Romania parinteala a devenit o obsesie. Sa fii un parinte bun, a la carte, e treaba serioasa, aproape imposibila. Mai ales daca iei in considerare toate parerile tuturor celor din jur. Caci slava Domnului, satul este inca pe baricade si fiece vecin stie mult mai bine decat tine ce si cum trebuie facut.

De ceva ani, sa tot fie vreo 5, 1 Iunie a devenit, cel putin in Bucuresti, un mare prilej de buluceala, enervare, frustrare. Am invatat asadar sa evitam “evidentul”, locurile unde se organizeaza cele mai cool adunari pentru copii si incercam sa ii oferim copilului o zi in familie, cu inghetata si cirese si joaca, un film dragut si pop-corn. Anul acesta filmul ales a fost Sonic 2. Am zis da, am cautat si cumparat bilete, la reducere de 1 Iunir, apoi m-am pregatit pentru vizita la cinema, nu mai fusesem la un film din 2019, eram putin emotionata… Am plecat de acasa cu destul timp inainte, insa aglomeratia din oras era foarte mare, asadar am ajuns cu doar 10 minute inainte de ora la care incepea filmul. In cinema cozi peste tot: la pop-corn, apa, la validarea biletelor luate online. Am ajuns doar noi fetele la timp la locurile noastre, pe tata l-am lasat sa parcheze si sa caute undeva o sticla cu apa. In sala 90% din scaune ocupate, un vacarm si o agitatie prea mare, nu ma asteptam chiar la asta. Urmaresc trailerele la toate filmele de copii lansate in ultimul timp, ocazie cu care aflu ca vom merge sa mai vedem un film cu Minioni. Sunt haiosi, vom merge, da.

Incepe filmul, toti baieteii tipa entuziasmati, ma cuibaresc in scaunul meu inconjurat de sandale si adidasi cu luminite care tropaie liberi. Si miros. Nu este ce imi dorisem, cum imi imaginasem prima zi de vara, dar rezist eroic. Pentru copilul meu, de ziua lui. In spate incepe sa fosneasca o punga. A fosnit tot filmul; ma intreb si acum ce o fi fost in ea… pufuleti poate?! Intr-un final apare si omul meu, cu sticla cu apa, la pop-corn era aceeasi interminabila coada si nu a avut putere sa se mai opreasca si acolo.

Suntem toti, ne bucuram in familie de aventurile ariciului albastru, e bine. La final aflam fericiti ca va fi si partea a treia.

Ce pot spune dupa acest 1 iunie? Ca imi iubesc copilul la fel de mult, chiar daca nu am fost foarte fericita la Sonic 2; ca pe Sonic 3 il vom vedea intr-o zi de lucru, nu intr-una libera. Ca mi-as dori sa nu uit ca 1 Iunie si copilaria este despre joaca si fericire, nu despre bifat activitati cu copiii. Nu e un maraton, este o cursa lunga impreuna, una de stafeta si la final echipa si aventura trebuie sa iasa invingatoare.

Elmer, elefantul multicolor

A fost odata ca niciodata un elefant multicolor. Diferit de toti elefantii gri din turma lui, de toti prietenii si de toata familia. Sau, daca nu a fost, cu siguranta a trait un talentat ilustrator, cu o imaginatie cum alta nu s-a mai vazut, care a inventat acest personaj. Elmer, elefantul multicolor. Diferit de toti, dornic mereu sa le joace feste prietenilor, cu un suflet mare si multa dragoste de daruit.

Caci daca David Mckee nu l-ar fi desenat pe simpaticul Elmer, multi copii nu s-ar fi bucurat niciodata de povestile si istorisirile pline de ghidusii. Multi copii nu ar fi invatat ca este in regula sa fii diferit, sa te bucuri de viata cand ai chef, atat timp cat nu faci rau nimanui. Sa ii ajuti pe cei aflati la nevoie; sa aduci o raza de soare dupa multi nori de furtuna in viata cuiva care chiar are nevoie de asta.

Pentru ca nu-i asa? Fiecare dintre noi este diferit de toti ceilalti din jurul lui. Unii avem ochi albastri, altii un semn distinct cu care ne-am nascut, altii poate chiar mai multe. Important este sa incercam mereu sa gasim lucrurile care ne apropie si unde suntem asemanatori, nu doar pe cele care ne despart .

Astazi David McKee a obosit sa mai deseneze. Si a plecat intr-o alta lume, unde poate chiar exista elefanti multicolori si unicorni roz. Sau unde se poate reintalni cu toate personajele pe care le-a creat. Asta da, ar fi o veste tare buna!

First reading alone experiences

For our daughter, all the first experiences were a lot of work. Until she wasn’t really ready to do it, she wouldn’t wanted to try. The same happend of course with reading. Months after she learned the alphabet and she could wrote entire words or phrases, she was still not determinated to try reading them.

Until one day, when she took one of her favourite books and started reading. All on her own. I was so happy and thought that my work was done and I can go on a remote island 🙂 Then the school started, all the new experiences were a set back in everything, including reading alone. We let it be, since we understood that she needs time and energy to focus in dealing with all the new things and people and emotions. Until last week, when a new book with Mr. Paddington, the bear from the darkest Peru, appeared.

She started reading the new book and she kept reading until she read the last page. It was so much joy in her eyes, to be able to do that and she didn’t want to stop before it was done.

It was very funny to watch her having the some problem in reading the word Paddington, every time she would encouter it. Now she is able to read the requirements of all her school related activities and she understands almost all of them.

As a personal conclusion I can say that, of course, every little human has his own pace and rythm and they will start reading when they are ready, not when we want them to do it.

For us it really helped to be books with her favourite characters. And little text on the pages. And a big font. And funny stories or rhymes. And our patience, not our pressure. You cannot help a child

by telling him that he has to read because X does it or you want him to do it. He will do when he is ready for that experience and not a minute sooner. He will do it when the joy of success will be greater than the fear of doing it wrong.

I selected a small collection of books that are suitable for first reading alone. Some are in english, some are translated in Romanian, but the originals is the same in terms of illustrations and text.

So take time and a comfortable chair, maybe even a cup of tea and enjoy the first readings of your children! Is an experience of a lifetime.

Painting with kids

For some time now me and my daughter have a new hobby: painting or reproducing works of famous artists. We paint by numbers or we add paint on scketches or on 3D contours. Is a very relaxing activity and most important, a fun way for her to learn about famous artists or paintings.

Yesterday we started working on a new project: we paint by numbers on a canvas one of Leonid Afremov’s work. She looks at the painting and asks me:

– Mum, what this picture is supposed to represent?

– Well, if we are lucky, it will be a lady and a gentlmen walking in the rain.

– Now it looks more like Picachu…

– Picasso? I ask.

– Yes mama, Picasso! I got the name wrong, but I know how Picasso painted!

Work in progress

The rocket book by Peter Newell

We continue the serie of events related to Hallowen with a tricky business: launching a rocket in the basement of a 21 floors building! In 1912’s New York, after the janitor’s son lits up a rocket that goes up ‘til it reaches the top flat.

It is not SF, nor a dream of mine; it is not even a TV commercial or animation. It is the “ Rocket book” by Peter Newell, one of the fathers of children illustrated books.

I believe that in every aspect of life we need to look up to the pioneers and the ones that took things at the highest level.

In the world of children illustrated books, Peter Newell is one of them. He illustrated Mark Twain and Lewis Caroll, to name two of the famous writers he worked with. What I loved the most about this book is the attention he paid to details, the expresivity of his characters and the ability to create a scene without overloading the illustrations. And the use of objects and words that are now lost from our homes and vocabulary.

It is a book to have and to read, at any age, I would say.

My 7 yo daughter had an interesting reaction to the book. She asked me why all the people in the book were so amazed and had eyes so big. And then she wondered what it would happen if we lit rocket in our building’s garage 🙂

I didn’t respond the obvious, that we would fly from there as soon as the rocket in the book did…

Autumn art with kids

Autumn is not my favourite season at all…

But I do like the colors it brings in the nature and the smell of cold in the morning. The pies we make and the roasted chesnuts; the walk we get to go on until the winter really setles in. And I love to collect leaves and wild berries and small pieces of wood for our art projects.

Today we decided to use some of the materials we collected in the week-end. We included leaves and berries and wooden dolls in our art. We glued and colored and put together some people …

It was a lot of fun and we sang and laughed alot.

My daughter wants to prepare a small in-house exhibition, for friends and family to see and maybe invest in our work. By now, when I write these lines, the courier was the only person asked if he wants to buy a fall painting with leaves 🙂 He was super confused, but she assured him she wroked hard on it and that is really valuable…

Me, I’m just happy that she knows how to make the most out of everything that she does.

The world needs who you were made to be

By Joanna Gaines

illustrated by Julianna Swaney

Tommy Nelson books, 2020

A few years back, my dearest friend told me the story of a celebrity who went to a very faimous designer/stilist/life changing type of person. And she told the specialist that she wants a change and she have to reinvent herself. And the guy asked her how she wants to be, the new reinvented her. And she said that would like to be like X public person and a little bit like that person and so on… The answer was: How about being who you really are? And I often asks myself if I am who I really am or I just try to please the others or to be who someone else needs me to be. Because we live among people and how they see us and their opinion about us matter, we like it or not.

I think that we prepair our kids to be not who they really are and we keep on doing that since they are very little. We compare them with other kids; our parents compare them with us at their age; we ask them what they want to be when they grow up and we also offer the “right” answers. And by doing so, we limit their options with our subjectivity and our own limitations. So maybe the best thing we can do is let them be who they natural feel to be. And trust them that they know best what they want to be or how they want to live.

The book is written in sort verses that rhyme and are easy to remeber and repeat. It is recommended for ages 4-8, but depending on the child history of reading, it’s appropiate for children smaller than 4 yo.

Joanna Gaines is a famous designer who, together with her husband and their 5 kids, had a famous TV show that she end it due to the excesive exposure of the family.

The message she wants to send to all the children of the world is that it is ok to be different, to want different things and to get where we want to go on different paths. Because it is human nature to be diverse, to have unique qualities and abilities. Maybe some kids like to work in team and maybe some are more productive working alone. Maybe some are very serious when completing a task and other like to tell a joke or sing or make a special sound ( my daughter does that) when they are focusing on a job.

And as long as we prepare ourselves the best we can, the journey we take is the same for each and everyone of us. And the sky, as we take the journey, is filled with all our beautiful differences! And it is a picture worth making and seing, because we have just one live and we must live it the best we can. As who we were meant to be.

Sweet child o’ mine GUNS N’ ROSES

Illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin

Jimmy Patterson Books, 2020

It rains for days now. It is not a November rain, but it got me thinking of Guns n’ Roses. For me, living in a ex-comunist country, the ‘90 were full of discoveries from the “free” world. Guns n’ Roses was one of them and somehow represented a break from the old and a chance for new beggings.

The book is based upon the lyrics of the song Sweet child o’ mine, wrote by Axl Rose in 1987 for his girlfriend of that time, Erin Everly. In the book the main characters are a little girl and her mother, who journey through life and music. The duo was inspired by Maya and Natalie Rose, daughter and niece of band’s manager Fernando Lebeis. The girls both grew up touring with the band, so the connection between them was always very strong.

The sweet and magic illustration belongs to Jennifer Zivoin and it carries us away, in a special place of joy and laugher. For me it was a very emotional moment to open the book and start reading the lyrics to my daugther. And to listen to the song and tell her all about that time when I was such a big fan of GnR. She liked the illustrations in the book and the song also. Because she likes to sing very much (she sings most of the time) ans she wants to be a rock&roll singer. And a pilot, engineer or mother… She cannot decide yet, but it is still time for that. For the moment we just enjoyed the book that gave us the feeling of traveling and freedom and carefree. In a time when all of this was impossible and everyone had to stop for a while, in order to protect and heal.

It takes a village

by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Illustrated by Marla Frazee

For the last 6 years, since my daughter was born, I asked myself often if the truth behind this saying is still actual. And if so, where was this village when I need it to help me raise my beautiful girl? Now I think that in fact I was strong enough to not need the whole village. But still it would had been great for her to grow surrounded by lots of family and people who loved her.

When I saw this picture book, already knowing the work of illustrator Marla Frazee, I though I would give it a try.

Marla Frazee, for whose who aren’t familiar with her work, is the person behind “The boss baby” character. And the illustrator of “The seven silly eaters”, a great book in rhyme that my daughter loves very much.

“It takes a village” has also beautiful, vivid illustrations. The message in the book is simple, as it should be, considering it is a picture book for young readers ( above 4 years of age I would say). That a child can bring a village together; that children need good exemples in their life, need to be surrounded by champions. A child, any child has to learn that in order to achieve greatness you have to put a lot of work first. And dedication. That all our children needs a playground ; to grow, to explore the world, to thrive. And it is our duty, of each person from “the village” to make the effort to build it. Can we do that for our children?