Hamshahri Newspapar Interview with Fatemeh Maadani; researcher of children’s books
The colorful world of children’s book
28 February 2016
Childhood is one of the most influential periods of human life; An era in which many of the foundations of human future life are being formed. Reading books plays an essential role in shaping children’s personality in this period. To answer the questions of what components children’s books should have, what elements should be used to attract children to read, or what book is suitable for children’s age groups, we talked with an expert in this field. Read Hamshahri’s conversation with “Fatemeh Maadani”, a researcher and author of Alborzi in the field of children’s books.
- What kind of book is suitable for children?
Children are divided into three age groups A, B and C. Age group A is divided into three parts: the first part, from birth to 2 years old; The second part is from 3 to 6 years old and the third part is 6 and 7 years old. Age group B includes 8 and 9 years old and age group C includes 10 to 12 years old. By age 2, pictures are more important than content, and most children enjoy picture books or poetry and rhythm books. Also, for this age group, the images should be large, clear and simple. Between the ages of 3 and 6, books are suitable for stories with simple themes and illustrations. At the age of 6 or 7, because it is usually the first time that children are separated from their families and go to preschool and school, books that give children a sense of trust and confidence to be together are the best choice. Also, books which are short are suitable because children can read to the end easily and so become interested in reading. Historical and scientific books are not suitable for this age because children may be tired from the book when they do not understand its content. The important thing about children’s books, especially this age group, is that books with sad endings and concepts such as death are not suitable for this period. From the age of 8 onward, children should be gradually introduced to various topics through books, that is, in addition to stories, books which prepare children find their own personality; because books are very important in creating children’s personalities. Books on self-confidence and self-expression are appropriate for children in this group. Learning life skills with simple sentences and topics should be included in the books. For age group C, various topics with deeper themes as well as scientific and historical books that introduce them to their past and culture are the best option. In this age group, boys are more interested in science books and girls are more enthusiastic about emotional books and love stories.
- Tell us about the importance of reading books as a child.
If parents are always waiting for the opportunity to provide books for children and to institutionalize reading in young children, in the future we will have a society that is full of books and reading. Reading books is very important in human life because by reading books we subconsciously experience issues that we may never have the opportunity to experience in normal life if this happens from childhood and children become acquainted with the world around them, they find life and make their life choices with more openness and maturity. The greatest help of parents is to acquaint their children with books from an early age.
- How important is the use of pictures in children’s books?
Since children do not have a large vocabulary and a full understanding of the content, they need something to help them understand the concepts, and the best help for children in this regard is pictures. In general, the mind has a better understanding of pictures and the content remains longer in it.
- Due to the importance you place on images in children’s books, what standards should these pictures have?
In one of my writings, named “A Review on Children’s Book Illustration” I have mentioned the standards in detail.The children’s book illustrator should be familiar with the child’s psychology and consider the characteristics of different age groups in illustration. For example, watercolor is not suitable for every content and age group; the illustrator must know what age group each style is suitable for. One of the criteria is that the images are in line with the content, which in some cases pictures and content of books are different. The next issue is that the images convey the feeling well. Another significant issue is the attractiveness and positive semantic load of the images. If the picture has a negative charge for children, it will not have a good effect on his mind. On the other hand, we live in a world with different colors, each color has its own meaning, for example color Blue positively evokes calm and negatively evokes depression. Red represents the positive side of energy and love and the negative side shows emotion such as anger.
The illustrator of the children’s book should use them in the pictures of the children’s book according to the semantic load of the colors and make the book attractive by using the correct colors.
- How do you assess the situation of writing children’s books in Alborz province?
In our country, the subject of authorship is generally not in a good position, and bookstores or institutions are more inclined to translate books that cover a lot of topics; while it is necessary to pay more attention to the field of children’s literature inside Iran and Alborz.