Curated by Yuliia Kozlovets
Every year, while defining the accents of the Festival’s Kids Program, we focus on particular sore points or areas of the soonest development in the modern children’s literature process.
Over the past few years, there appeared a number of new thematic and genre niches in children’s literature, which were almost empty or not filled at all before. The Ukrainian readers have got well-acquainted with world’s classics and the winners of literature ratings and awards through translations; world bestsellers have been published in Ukrainian. And it’s heartening to see that. With translations of the best children’s books, our authors learn and expand both their reading and writing experiences. However, the books in translation start dominating significantly. More and more, our children associate themselves with the characters of other cultures and see themselves in other countries, and not in the environment in which they actually live. And there is a risk that our authors will become invisible among that translation diversity. So, today, it is those who create the modern Ukrainian children’s literature who claim additional attention.
Hence is the special theme of the Kids Program – Here You Are!, which focuses on our local ‘stars’, shows their importance and potential, and aims at making them as recognizable as possible among readers. It is important for our children to identify themselves with the Ukrainian characters, and the Book Arsenal Festival visitors will be able to meet them on the Festival locations. Dozens of contemporary well-known writers – from the picture book creators to the authors of bizarre novels – are going to work all together in one space.
Various events and new impressions are waiting for the Ukrainian children’s book lovers: the biggest autograph session of favourite children’s authors ever, the ‘live library’, battles, ‘aquarium’, discussions, anti-discussions, quests, interactive presentations, a number of events focusing on teenage and young adult literature, author readings, and story times. The partner of this part of the program is BaraBooka. The Space of the Ukrainian Children’s Book, the children’s reading support project.
This year, the international part of the Kids Program is professionally oriented. Thanks to the support of the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, we have invited Liz Page, the Executive Director of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), and the Chairman of the Jury for the so-called “Little Nobel Prize”, The Hans Christian Andersen Award. Her visit is an opportunity to discuss international reading promotion practices and world awards, adopt successful experiences, and talk about the important issues in the Ukrainian children’s literature, in particular, the activities of the IBBY local section, and national contests and awards the number of which, by the way, increasingly grows. Continuing the tradition of exhibiting the world’s best children’s book collections, the Book Arsenal Festival gives everyone a chance to see the IBBY Honour List, which presents outstanding, recently published children’s books, honouring writers, illustrators and translators from IBBY member countries.
The special guest of the Kids Program is Rune Belsvik, a famous Norwegian writer, playwright and author of children’s books, ALMA nominee. His stories about fantastic Foolfart are extremely popular in Norway. Experts put them alongside the works by Astrid Lindgren, Tove Jansson and Alan Milne. Recently the book has been published in Ukraine. The visit of Rune Belsvik has been made possible due to the support of NORLA.
The five kids festival days are traditionally diverse so the visitors will surely remember them. Among the main events are the book morning for kids 0-3 and their parents, the workshop Read&DIY supported by the Kyiv Mini Maker Faire, as well as the interactive reading space of the Library of the Future. We pay attention to the book in education, the teaching of literature at school, the competencies of modern teachers and students who don’t wait for changes but rather create them themselves. Also, the awards will be given to the winners of the Read&Write Students’ Review Contest of the Serhiy Zhadan Charitable Foundation, and the final of the Anti-essay Competition organized by the Mystetskyi Arsenal Educational Laboratory and the traditional Very Special Journey for teenagers with disabilities will take place.
Here You Are!