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Illustrator: ANA FORJAN

My own experience reading with a child? My PR team told me I should write about how to get children to read a book given that I wrote several children’s book. Honestly, I don’t have a slightest idea. On the contrary, it was a personal struggle to get my youngest to follow a bedtime story.

While in the mids of trying to get my youngest to focus I somehow found out that even a bedtime reading with my children, was about me. As narcissistic as it sounds, the moment I became interested in a book, the moment I wanted to learn the moral of that book, the moment I started analyzing illustrations everything changed. I just needed to be present in the moment. The youngest child was actually reflecting my lack of attention while reading a bedtime story. I was always tired and just wanted to get it over with.

To my great surprise, I found out that children books are actually written for adults, too! Don’t be fooled by simple sentences or limited vocabulary. In my opinion, they teach lessons about life, better than most adults books ever will! For me, reading a children book is a spiritual allegory. Every book has a hidden moral, ethic or even a political message. Let’s take for example one of many life lessons from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry how relationships makes life worth living. The book also reminds us, that all adults were ones children among many other wonderful morals. Another example is The little Red Hen by Mary Mapes which shows the value of hard work. Along with countless children books that teaches values of family, friendship, love, security and how good it feels to be kind, to dream, to be inspired and to be present, there is my personal favorite book, Animal farm by George Orwell. An adult book that uses the genre and the style of children’s book to transmit a very serious political message. The message is how power and control are born from corruption and this message is, in my opinion, attributed to any system at any period.

This demonstrates that books are wonderful means to show your child how beautiful life is and to remind yourself how much fun you can have while living it!  

In fact, I had to bring back the knowledge I had as a child. How everything was and still is connected! I had to recall the memory of me being a little girl. How I depended on my parents state of mind. If my father was absent, I didn’t feel present. If my mother was nervous, I felt irritated. If my brother didn’t want to play with me, I lost interest in the game. Everything was interconnected.

And still is. With this new awareness I have, I am very careful how I feel and how I act around my family. Somehow we read each others emotions. While reading to my kids I try to make sure that I express all the positive emotions I feel in that moment. I am simply happy to be there with them. I align myself with the book. In a way, I become a character in a book. Doing so, I automatically transmit to them the values of the book and teach them the values I have learned so far…