Small child

A short conversation about children's books

A short conversation about children's books

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Reading to children has many benefits. A wise fairy tale, story or poem is a very valuable gift that we can give a toddler, regardless of his age and interests. Fairy tales develop a child's creative imagination, allow to strengthen the bond between a parent and a few-year-old child, support the development of speaking and facilitate falling asleep.

We talk about children's books with Małgorzata Gulgowska-Kowalska, the author of the blog

You also get the impression that the publishing market is very diverse. In addition to very valuable books, there are also books that should not be published at all ...

M.G.K: Yes it's true. Today, virtually anyone can publish a book. Nobody checks if it is a valuable book or not. With adequate financial outlays, even a little worth a position can hit a wide distribution network, and then find yourself in many small hands.

This in itself is not bad. Instead, it should force parents to be vigilant and carefully check what they give their children to read. It hurts me personally that often the outstanding classic - Tuwim, Brzechwa, Jachowicz - appears in ugly, carelessly illustrated, unworthy of the content they contain. I avoid such books like fire.

Have you found a book for children that you would not recommend to a friend?

M.G.K: A lot of books have gone through my hands and those of my children. Sometimes I wish I could remember them all. But on the other hand, I think we are forgetting those books that did not have any particular impact on us.
We have one such booklet in our family that we have remembered, although it certainly does not belong to the category: we recommend. This is "Przygody cebulka" - vegetable epic about the story straight from the October Revolution. For us adults, this book was both amusing and frightening. How can you spend something like that for children! We showed friends as a kind of folklore, but I certainly would not recommend this book to a friend.

What do you pay attention to when choosing children's books?

M.G.K: I recently asked myself this question. I thought about the answer for a moment, but finally I had to say that these are definitely illustrations. I think that illustration in a children's and youth book is extremely important. Unfortunately often underrated.
Children perceive the world through images. While illustrations in toddlers' books usually play a key role, in books for older children, seven, eight, they are underestimated and taken carelessly.
Recently, I was amazed by the latest edition of Ania from Zielona Góra Skrzat. The illustrations incorporated into the text completely change the perception of the book. I read and felt like a little girl again ...

There are also suggestions that are addressed to children, but which may also be interesting for adults, the so-called bottom stories ... Have you met with such editions?

M.G.K: Definitely! Many children's books should become a must read for parents. Example? The story of Janusz Korczak "On the other side of the window" by Anna Czerwińska-Rydel. I read with my sons and we were all in awe. A beautiful book in form and content, introducing children to the figure of a Good Doctor, and presenting us in a new light for adults.
Sometimes even comics can turn out to be deeply philosophical. A book by the duo Toni and Slade Morrison: "Who is the mountain? A Lion or a Mouse? ”Is an extremely deep tale written in comic form. I highly recommend to all adults ...

What recent books have you particularly captivated?

M.G.K: Recently, an unusual book, modern fairy tales written by Umberto Eco, "Three Stories" came into our hands. This is one of those items that you read for weeks or even months. Funny, but also deeply wise quotes from the fairy-tale stories of this outstanding writer, are constantly appearing in our conversations. "Three stories" is my latest discovery. I did not expect Eco to write so colorfully for children.

Technical matters: format, cover, weight?

M.G.K: I like books that I feel in my hands, in a hardback, with a canvas back. However, this is not the only criterion determining the value of reading. The most important is the story and illustrations hidden in the book.

How much time do you spend reading together?

M.G.K: We try to read every day. We do not look at the watch then, but usually we sit down to the book for at least 40 minutes. I often announce before reading "Today one chapter, because it's late", and then somehow it happens that we close the book after 3-4 chapters. Reading together is not only fun for kids, but also for parents. I love it!

What do you want to share through your blog?

M.G.K: The blog started for one important reason - to capture the moments I spend with my children. When I realized how many funny, touching moments we spent together on the book, I thought that in a moment everything would go away from memory. I treat the reviews I post on my blog as a kind of diary. Each "reading" is associated with a situation, some funny text of one of the children. Books are also a great starting point for joint jokes, conversations and philosophical discussions. This time is priceless for me. I hope that for my children too ...

Małgorzata Gulgowska-Kowalska - mother of three children: 11-year-old with aspirations to be a philosopher, 8-year-old planning a career as a constructor and 3.5-year-old who stubbornly repeats that she will become a princess. Author of a blog about children's books He has been professionally involved in internet projects for years, mainly in the field of functionality and content of websites. Privately: he cooks, irons, feathers, cleans and tries to make time for reading together every day.