Copii nostri scriu si ilustreaza

A inceput vacanta si noi facem planuri, de cand ne trezim pana adormim. Dupa zeci de intrebari legate de cate zile dureaza vacanta asta, cand plecam la bunici, cat de mult or sa se bucure bunicii sa o vada, cum or sa fie imbracati, ce aventuri ii pregatesc eu pentru fiecare zi de vacanta, copilul a anuntat ieri ca vrea sa scrie o carte… S-a facut liniste, inima mea a zambit si apoi am intrebat cu o voce mica despre ce ar vrea sa scrie. “Despre Roz si Galbenel si aventurile lor din cartea a 3-a. Ei vor povesti tot ce au facut dupa ce s-au intors pe insula.“
Si-a luat agenda si un pix si s-a apucat de scris; cum se pricepe ea sa scrie la 7 ani, nu m-a lasat sa corectez nimic. Doar sa citesc.
Ar vrea insa sa o ajut la final sa arate si cartea ei la fel ca celelalte 2 carti. Si sa poata fi citita de toti copiii care o iubesc pe robotica si pe puiul ei. Pentru cei care nu au citit inca opera lui Peter Brown, este vorba despre cele doua volume “Insula robotilor” si “Intoarcere pe insula robotilor.”
Nu credeam ca o carte si doua personaje vor avea un impact atat de puternic asupra ei. O carte pe care nici macar nu m-am gandit sa o cumpar, i-a imprumutat-o un prieten mai mare. S-a invatat cu personajele, astepta nerabdatoare in fiecare seara sa-i cititeasca tatal ei cateva capitole. Pana saptamana trecuta cand volumul II s-a terminat. Au trecut la alte carti, alte aventuri, dar cumva nevoia de a mai fi un pic alaturi de Roz si de puiul ei de gasca a gasit aceasta solutie: daca nu exista cartea a 3 a, o va scrie ea!

Pentru ca am primit acceptul de a fotografia ce a lucrat pana acum, va las mai jos un mic extras.

Sunt curioasa sa aflu ce carti sau personaje i-au marcat pe alti copii atat de mult incat sa isi doreasca sa scrie despre ei sau sa ii ilustreze asa cum si-i imagineaza. Si daca opera lor poate fi sau a fost deja prezentata publicului larg si ce reactii a primit.

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.

Proiectul Barnabus

de Fratii Fan

Semne bune anu’ are …
Voi incepe cu primul care ne-a atras atentia la inceput de an, Proiectul Barnabus de Fratii Fan. Este, in opinia mea, una dintre cele mai reusite aparitii de carte ilustrata din 2021. Si ma bucur nespus ca cei de la Humanitas junior au facut posibila aparitia ei, la standarde cu care ne-au obisnuit deja. Povestea “curge” pe fiecare pagina si prin fiecare ilustratie. Barnabus si prietenii lui captiveaza cititorii prin ideile nastrusnice, curajul si prietenia de care dau dovada. Este incercarea de a evada din cutia in care cineva se trezeste inchis, de altii, de societate sau de sine, datorita propriilor temeri si frici. Este povestea cautarii unui sens mai mare in viata decat propria persoana si patratica pe care o ocupi. Sunt multe idei si intelesuri, explicite sau ascuse, de descoperit in carte.
Copilul de 7 ani s-a bucurat sa refaca traseul prietenilor pana reusesc sa evadeze, apoi a cautat “defectele” fiecare animalut si a incercat sa le retina numele. S-a mirat ca au evadat exact in magazinul cu animalute “perfecte”, de care se temeau mai mult ca orice sa ajunga…
Adultul care a citit cartea impreuna cu copilul s-a bucurat de tot: design, ilustratie, traducerea si corectura impecabile, povestea duios relatata.
Este o lectura pe care o recomand si sper sa fie nominalizata intre cele mai bune carti ale anului si aici, nu doar in strainatate.

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?