Jytte Christensen (tidl. udviklingschef på Odense Centralbibliotek) er blevet kontaktet af folkeskolelærer ved navn Anne Hansen, som arbejder i Chile. Hun har opstartet et børnebibliotek, oversætter børnebøger og har et par frivillige til at hjælpe med oplæsning m.m. En omtale af Anne Hansens virke findes i den vedhæftede artikel fra 2005, skrevet af Imogen Mark.
Anne Hansen har kørt biblioteksprojektet i 10 år, men vil nu gerne videreudvikle konceptet, så der i løbet af 3 år bliver startet en børnebogbus med læsning og børnenes eget anmelderblad. Der skal rejses 150.000 kr. pr. år i tre år. Jytte Christensen er i gang med ansøgninger til bl.a. F.L. Smidt og opbygger et netværk af interessenter, der kunne tilføre projektet støtte, ressourcer og legitimitet. Det sidste er vigtigt i forhold til et muligt samarbejde med universitetet i Santiago.
De 150.000 kr. pr. år går til lønninger for ansvarshavende personale samt drift til en bogbus og oversættelsesarbejde af primært nordisk børnelitteratur. Bogbussen skal køre til nabodistrikter og kan give biblioteket den udbredelse og status, som det fortjener. Langsigtet skal projektet bidrage til at få det chilenske kulturministerium til at arbejde på en bæredygtig strategi for formidling af børnelitteratur.
For Latin America Press/ Noticias Aliadas From Imogen Mark – Santiago 21.03.05
“¡Mentira, mentira, copucha, copucha! Ninguna gallina ha muerta pilucha!” (Lies, lies, gossip, gossip! Not one hen has naked died!”) chants a class of Chilean seven and eight year olds with noisy enthusiasm. Second grade B, Escuela 286 Montedonico, one of the poorest neighborhoods of the old port city of Valparaíso, are presenting their version of Hans Christian Andersen´s story of the gossipy hens, “It´s quite true” (note for translator: Es la pura verdad). Andersen, Denmark´s most famous son, whose bicentenary is being celebrated worldwide this year, might not recognize this Chileanized version of his story. But himself the son of a cobbler and a washerwoman, he would surely applaud the efforts of his fellow countrywoman, Anne Hansen, to bring good stories and good books and the pure pleasure of reading to needy children, like his own “Little Mach Girl”.
Unlike the child in Andersen´s story, today even the poorest Chilean children do not die of hunger and cold on the streets. Now a middle-income country and much-touted economic model for the rest of Latin America and the Third World, Chile´s poverty issues are half hidden by apparent prosperity. But many families live hand to mouth, with both parents seeking casual work and the children left in the care of relatives, neighbors or older children. Truancy rates from school are high, and academic performance poor; there is often alcohol and drug abuse in the home, along with physical abuse and neglect.
Valparaíso, once a flourishing port and industrial centre, has been in decline for decades, and is now among the poorer regions of Chile, with almost 20% of its 300,000 people living below the poverty line.
Chile´s formal level of literacy is high, at 95% of the population. But in 2000 an international survey of reading skills found 56% of all Chileans were below the acceptable level of basic competence, and only 15 % reached a good level. Last year culture minister José Weinstein revealed that 60% of the population had not read a work of fiction in the past year. But books pay value added tax, like all other goods, so they are expensive. Public lending libraries are not a strong tradition, and until now public investment in the sector has focused on providing computers rather than books.
In this context, Hansen´s initiative, the CentroChileno Nórdico de Literatura Infantil (Chilean Nordic Centre for Children´s Literature), is a unique attempt to provide high quality children´s books and reading programs for the youngest readers, and non-readers, primarily to those with least access to either; and to offer adults and children a shared pleasurable experience, and a chance to talk.
Two libraries, opened in 2001, offer child-friendly surroundings: small chairs and tables, plenty of books on child-level bookshelves, drawing and painting materials, puzzles and toys. The books are almost all donations from the Danish public library system, translated into Spanish by volunteers and the new text stuck neatly over the old – “a major recycling project “, as one volunteer puts it. Books and furniture have been sent to help form other small libraries, and the Centre also offers training courses in children´s literature to kindergarten teachers working with children at risk.
Hansen is passionate about the role good story books can and should play in children´s lives. They can instruct or heal or give pure pleasure, she says. But she is fiercely critical of the didactic tradition in children´s literature. “A lot of children´s books are clearly meant to teach the little reader something to help him in adult life, and reading is a task to help him escape from ignorance. Most of this literature is boring and artificial.”
Far too many of the books produced in Chile for this age group fall into this category, she says, or are simply insipid. Far too few address the everyday issues the children face, like jealousy of siblings, parents getting divorced, the joys and frictions of friendship, the mysteries of death and sexuality. Few offer non-authoritarian models of parenting in a country where, in the words of a recent UNICEF report, “due to traditional and paternalistic attitudes… children are not encouraged to express their views and… their views are not heard or given due weight in decisions affecting them in the family, at school, in the community and in social life at large”.
The titles of a few of the favorite books in the Centre´s libraries illustrate Hansen´s point. Alongside the traditional tales on the shelves, like “Little Red Riding Hood” and “The Tree Bears”, or Andersen´s “The Emperor´s New Clothes” and “The Ugly Duckling”, stand “I´m going to burst with rage!”, “I want those ones”, “I´m not sleepy, I don´t want to go to bed”, This is our house”, “I miss my Mum”, “Look at me, Dad”, “Toby the dog gets old”, “Frog is frightened”, “I´m big, I´m small”, and the top favorite, “The story of the mole who wanted to know who shat on his head.”
“Estoy que reviento de rabia”, “Quiero esos”, “No tengo sueño, no quiero dormir”, “Ésta es nuestra casa”, “Echo de menos a mi mamá”, “Mírame papá”, “Tobi el perro envejece”, “Sapo tiene miedo”, “Soy grande, soy pequeño”, y, el favorito absoluto, “El topo quería saber quién se había cagado en su cabeza”.
Very often the treatment of children in the stories leads the listeners to comment on their own relationships with adults. One child said:”I want all the books about `Pepe`, because they never hit him. That´s why I like them.”
Hansen quotes with most pleasure the remark of one adult, who said:”All the books deal with everyday things. When I read them, I feel my life is worth more, because the things that happen in them could also happen to me.” “Todos los libros tratan de cosas cotidianas. Cuando los leo, siento que mi vida vale más, porque las cosas que pasan, me podrían pasar a mí también.”
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