This post is a short note for parents, educators and translators.
We often(and rightfully so) complain about lack of good children's literature. And while production and development of the latter is in the process, I can't help but once again point at the following two masterpieces and insist that they must be translated into English and made available for all our children:
"Cipollino"("Le aventure di Cipollino) , and "Gelsomino in the countyof liars"("Gelsomino nel paese dei bugiardi") by Gianni Rodari.
"Cipollino" is a story of adventures of an onion boy in a vegetable country which is ruled by a corrupt system. The book is full of sharp satire and easy to recognize characters with perfect contemporary relevance. Cipolliono a,d his friends by means of peaceful struggle end up overthrowing the corrupt ruling system, together with all its' characteristic elements. The book was, for obvious reasons, very popular in Communist countries, but by no means the values reflected in it belong to Communism exclusively and never should it be labeled as a "communist book".
What "Cipollino" teaches:
-disregard towards corrupt elements
-ability to think and understand the difference between universal and imposed values
-friendship and loyalty
-the power of unity
-weakness and fragility of any unjust establishment in the face of united struggle
-humbleness and the sad end of the arrogant
-appreciating small things in life
"Gelsomino in the country of liars" is a story of a gifted boy with an unusually strong voice who finds no place in his society, leaves it in search of a way to put his talent to a good use and encounters a country hijacked and corrupt to such an extent, that speaking truth in it is a crime( we knowof such countries, don't we?). He meets a few friends who, just like him, refuse to part with common sense, and their humble resistance to the collective madness and corruption, step by step, overthrows the entire system.
What "Gelsomino" teaches:
-being true to your values
-the power of a little bit of truth to overthrow an entire system of lies
-a decisive role one or a few individuals can play in a society
-finding a good use for your abilities and tallents, no matter how odd they may seem
-a healthy attitude and critical thinking
-sacrifise (the character of Bananito)
-value and possibilities that can be derived from the smallest encounters
-the evil of vanity and greed
-the sad end of the vain, arrogant and greedy ones
The above list of meritsof these two books is by no means complete, but should suffice to prove a universal value of these masterpieces of the great childrens' writer and educator Gianni Rodari.
The original books are in Italian, "Cipollino" is also available in Russian, French(in France, not in Canada), Chinese, and, perhaps other languages. Not in English, however. So, If anyone could translate or sposor translation of these books into English, they would do a great service not only to Muslim children, but to English-speaking children worldwide.