I have just discovered a great book for children and I am very proud to tell you that it comes from Poland, my own country. The idea is as exciting as it is simple: look for expat children in your hometown. Interview them, take their pictures, and let them tell you their favourite story or fairy tale. Combine this with gorgeous, stunning illustrations short life stories of the families, and publish.
This great idea was conceived by Anna Hejno and Martyna Piątas-Wiktor, two women working at Teatr Lalek in Wrocław (formerly known as Breslau). They contacted embassies and ask to get in touch with expat families. Their motivation came from an article about crimes committed against foreigners in Poland. On the other hand, Wrocław is a fairly multicultural city which made it a perfect location for this project.
You will find the pictures of the featured children in typical Wrocław locations: on the market place, for example. The children are often dressed in traditional attire, or shown during their favourite activities. The pictures are then accompanied by a short story about the families featured in the book, and then you can read the fairy tales.
The children come from many countries and cultures, they speak different languages. Some of them were already born in Poland; others came to Wrocław with their parents. In most cases, they come from mixed marriages. Also featured is a Roma singing and dancing choir. So in this book, we can find tales from: Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Cameroon, Germany, Japan, France, Palestine, the Czech Republic, India, the US, Poland and from the Roma people.
Some of the children were old enough to tell their favourite fairy tales themselves, in other cases the parents did the work for them if the child was very little and couldn’t speak yet. In most cases, there were typically traditional tales but Helena, an American girl or Lula, a French girl, even wrote their own stories! I am happy that so many wonderful, creative children live in my country!
Add the gorgeous illustrations by Karolina Maria Wiśniewska, and the photos by Krzysztof Wiktor, and you’ll get a delightful, colourful, exciting book where everything works together to promote cultural diversity and understanding. I love everything about it and I can’t wait to read it to my girls.