Kyrgyzstan: Children’s Literature Taking Fresh Look at Old Fables
“The third time we read it, he said: ‘Oh Mom, it’s about how people are different and how that is a good thing!”
Esal, a seven-year-old girl, was born in a country where everything is blue and square-shaped. One day, an alien object, pink and spherical, turns up close to her house. When it offers her the chance to leave behind the hard edges of her homeland and travel through a world of different forms and colors, she seizes it.
The journey takes Esal at first through a country full of people and buildings that resemble the strange pink ball. Then, she travels to another one inhabited by green triangular types. At the end of the book, she and her new friends unite to build a new multi-colored, multi-shaped space all of their own, dissolving the borders that once divided them.
“When my son first read the book, he said that it was all about shapes,” said Asel Abdyrakhmanova of her ten-year-old’s reaction to Kyrgyz author Altyn Kapalova’s “Square Country” fairytale.
“Then we read it again,” recalled Abdyrakhmanova, an education specialist, who works for an international development organization. “The third time we read it, he said: ‘Oh Mom, it’s about how people are different and how that is a good thing!”
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