The creation and distribution of children’s literature have been one of the main directions of the ‘Zangak’ publishing house for two decades. Works of both foreign and Armenian classical and modern children’s authors have been regularly published at ‘Zangak’.
Nouneh Sarkissian’s works have been known to our readers for many years. Both the reprinting of her already popular works and the publishing of new books are a continuous process for the ‘Zangak’ publishing house, and for children, it is highly anticipated.
Over the years, we have always received positive feedback and encouraging responses regarding the presentations, meetings and performances with Nouneh Sarkissian, which has contributed to strengthening the effective cooperation with the author.
Nouneh Sarkissian’s fantasy novel ‘Emerald Scissors’ is one of her unique works, which encourages children to look forward to the future and to contribute to a better, more beautiful, kinder planet. ‘Zangak’ publishing house gives great importance to the content of books and its educational value, as well as their contribution to the development of the imagination of the child. And in “Emerald Scissors” the above are combined in their best and with inexplicable beauty. We can confidently say that this illustrated, multi-content book will be read today and for generations to come.
Children’s literature is the most delicate and responsible field of multi- layered literature. It educates, guides and shapes the child’s worldview. Many factors contribute to the creation of the work: the language, the direct simplicity of the composition, and the ability to understand and reproduce children’s thinking. All these exist in Nouneh Sarkissian’s fairy tales and can be presented to children safely and reliably. The pure, unpolluted Armenian of the fairy tale, the high quality of the publication of the work, and the masterfully done illustrations are attracting the reader.
The fairy tale ‘The Magic Buttons’ is the biggest work of the author, which can rightly be called a novel. The heroine of the tale is ten-year-old Pearl. The plot is built around Pearl’s reflections, on inner fears, overcoming them and facing the challenges of the outside world. All these testify the author’s love and responsibility towards the composition, her care and her dignified attitude towards children. The author unobtrusively informs the little reader about the surroundings and the world. In one episode, a little boy fell ill and could only be cured by a medicine made of incense and honey.
The author uses this opportunity and tells the children what incense is, where the incense tree grows and what it looks like. The fairy tale is full of such episodes, which are educational and informative. Befitting the child’s thinking, the real and imaginary images follow each other, building an interesting story.
The author managed to make Pearl a real literary heroine, by talking with children about evil and kind, good and bad, honesty and dishonesty, talking about the big problems of life in a language understandable to children and guiding them to eternal truth.
The series of Nouneh Sarkissian’s fairy tales are a continuous conversation with the child, and each new fairy tale is expected and welcomed.
Fairy tales are a piece of the carefree, sunny period of life. A good fairy tale heard inchildhood can accompany a person throughout life. It is a mosaic of many introductory lessons about daily life, language, traditions, culture, psychology of relationships and many other aspects of life.
This is exactly the impression created by Nouneh Sarkissian’s book ‘Vartan, Hayk and Baziliscus’. This fairy tale will be equally interesting for both children and parents, everyone will find in it a philosophy appropriate to their age. The plot is captivating in such a way that you want to quickly find out how good will finally defeat the evil.
The story flows in a soft, beautiful and very literate language, harmonious syllables create a sense of melody.
The plot of the book is inspiring: even small creatures can do great things. This story has a very important idea: in any hopeless situation, there is a bright goal to strive for and you should never lose hope. In addition, the final chord of the story is very important – the idea of creation.
The book is perfectly complemented by the illustrations of artist Ruben Grigorian. They are soft and give the impression of good antiquity, but the reader also feels the confidence of the artist’s hand, his professionalism and the authenticity of the created images. They leave room for personal imagination, involving the reader in co-creation.
Responsibility, and conscientiousness, mental health and wellness, friendship and care are the fundamental personality traits and life skills that shape responsible and productive individuals. ‘Anteaters’ fairy tale delicately touches upon these concepts and importance of self-care.
Teaching life skills and responsibility should start from early childhood in the family. Building these skills among children, especially those with mental and physical disabilities should be well-organized, in a simple yet interesting, visually attractive, colorful way, considering the cognitive and developmental approaches which lie in the fundaments of this fairy tale.
‘Anteaters’ is an interactive story that creates a dialogue with the reader in an explicit, understandable way using championing language, coaching methods, and positive reinforcement. The well-thought illustrations help the reader visualize the important messages and the content. The story creates a unique and unconditional bond between the parents and the child. It provokes interest and motivation to finish the book uninterrupted. The reader is eager to learn what happens next or how the characters’ behavior unfolds. Furthermore, it leads to a fruitful discussion by analyzing the characters and finding similarities and differences among the characters or between the character and themselves. It helps children develop a daily routine and follow the rules.
The content, language, and concepts are simple, clear, and understandable for children with different abilities and disabilities. The Bock-Bock family is a true reflection of their routine and touches upon issues their children’s families might face. The Anteaters’ family also neglects the importance of dental care and always brings up thousands of reasons and lame excuses for justifying their poor decisions. Once the story unfolds, the reader witnesses the consequences rooted in their laziness and irresponsible behavior.
Both in the story and in real life we tend to choose easy solutions or bring multiple excuses which often lead to complex issues and wrong decisions later. Through the story, children with disabilities understand the importance of their own deeds and carry responsibility from an early age. This is one of the many reasons, that the book became friends with even the youngest children of the ‘Louse’ center. It taught them to be responsible and follow Doctor Badger’s recommendations on dental care.
Because of children’s attraction to the story, we thought about designing colorful posters on mastering tooth cleaning practices which later become a skill for our children with special needs.
The children of ‘Louse’ rehabilitation center have discovered their favorite tale, and they keep their teeth always clean.
Kindness is contagious; even the smallest act of kindness can irreversibly change the meanest person. The book ‘Emerald Scissors’ by Nouneh Sarkissian tells about the contrast between good and evil. The book is the continuation of ‘The Magic Buttons’ fairy tale, which is very popular among little readers.
The main character of ‘Emerald Scissors’, 12-year-old Pearl Darzi, is an honest and truthful schoolgirl, concerned about the future of the planet Earth. Her normal routine changes in an instant when the residents of the wizards’ and witches’ town of Crystalburg inform her of a new threat to Earth. Brave and knowledgeable Pearl appears on the Moon to protect the planet Earth and its people and manages to defeat the robot army of the Queen of the Moon, restore the peace of Crystalburg and save the inhabitants of Earth from evil beings.
Nouneh Sarkissian, using her typical simple and skillful writing, shows children how unacceptable and reprehensible human greed and evil are, how contagious love and kindness can be, capable of transforming even the most terrible villain. At the same time, the author emphasizes the importance of education, shows the power of knowledge and presents in a unique way what kind of heroic deeds a person armed with knowledge can do.
This interesting story expands the boundaries of children’s and grown-ups’ imagination and allows us to think that there will come a day when flights to the moon and settlements by humans on other planets, for example, Mars, will become very common phenomena.
In the book, the author also makes an important reference to the question that all children, regardless of appearance or mental and physical abilities, are unique, active and intelligent, talented and even ‘with a more sober mind than many adults’, capable of changing the world and making it better.
This fascinating and at the same time educational story of Pearl and her friends, which captivates from the very first pages and the colourful and interesting illustrations, transports young readers to a fairy- tale world of wizardry, fantasy and magic.
The students of Yerevan Music School Named after Alexey Hekimyan are very active and participate in national and international competitions, winning awards. In 2016, the musical ‘Once in a Dream’ was staged with the participation of the students of the school’s vocal and brass department, the success of which motivated us to continue staging musicals. It was this circumstance that introduced us to Mrs Nouneh Sarkissian and her ‘The Magic Buttons’ fairy tale. When choosing the plot and music of the musical performance, it was initially decided to choose an Armenian children’s writer and an Armenian composer, so that our children could participate in a completely Armenian performance.
Nouneh Sarkissian’s fairy tale ‘The Magic Buttons’ was different from other books and immediately attracted the attention of our children, especially since most of them were already familiar with the first edition of the fairy tale in 2005. Nowadays, it is very difficult to find a work intended for children with diverse and colourful characters and educational elements. Communicating with the heroes of the fairy tale, the ideas of the importance of friendship and kindness come up. Purposefulness and the very important ability to overcome difficulties are unwittingly formed and valued in the child when reading this book.
As for turning the fairy tale into a musical performance, our composer, Anna Harutyunyan, with great enthusiasm and ease, was able to find the way in which the heroes of ‘The Magic Buttons’ had their songs. The songs are very harmonious with their characters. All this only speaks about the merits of the fairy tale.
We wish success to Mrs Nouneh Sarkissian and all her works, especially the ‘The Magic Buttons’ fairy tale, which has already become very familiar to us.
‘Only enlightened people can create fairy tales, because the way to that world is forbidden to others.’
The fairy tale as a genre is simple and complex at the same time. It’s clear because the world is divided into bad and good, the characters are either exclusively positive or strongly negative, and the good always wins. And it is sophisticated because simplicity is only obvious. Nowadays, the author must be endowed with an extraordinary imagination to create a recognizable and unique fairy-tale reality. Nouneh Sarkissian, the author of the fairy tale ‘Vartan, Hayk and Baziliscus’, has completely succeeded in this.
Here is both the malevolent and insidious Grakoma, queen of the underworld kingdom of the hard-working but miserable Gondiks, the dwarf creatures, and brave Baziliscus, the dethroned but undefeated Prince of the Lizardos Tribe, and the loathsome, bloodthirsty General Aharo. Moreover, Nouneh Sarkissian skillfully and unobtrusively draws witty parallels between imagination and modern reality, right down to gossipy neighbours, a police car and a tram.
A children’s fairy tale should be appreciated, first of all, for the spark of kindness it carries in our cruel world of violence, and for the values it promotes. The spark of goodness in the story ‘Vartan, Hayk and Baziliscus’ is infinite, you even feel sorry for the ruthless Grakoma, who after all, was deprived of parental love since childhood and took refuge in the kingdom of the Gondiks, feeling useless and orphaned.
The values promoted in the book, are the most important ones for the human race: family, children, compassion and the most absorbing love. It is boundless love that is the source of the well-being of mankind, the mysterious secret and the guarantee of the existence of future generations, only love will save mankind from destruction. Even Baziliscus, who is terrified of the dark deeds of humans, after seeing the sincere and pure kindness of Vartan and Hayk, turns into a loyal defender of humans.
Nouneh Sarkissian’s vivid, bright and picturesque language is also important, which instils in children a love for their mother tongue, for the inexhaustible riches of the Armenian language.
Recently looking through the fairy tales of modern Armenian children’s authors my attention was caught by a delightful dragon book published in 2009 and intended for very young readers. ‘Three Dragons’ is one of Nouneh Sarkissian’s many stories addressed to them. It opens with the traditional Armenian fairy tale formula ‘Once upon a time’. However, instead of telling us about a powerful King or a beautiful Princess, it relates the story of the three dragon brothers, who lived cozily at the bottom of the deep lake. As in most wonder tales, the elder siblings are remarkably good-looking, they have colourful spotted skins and can roar scaring the fish in the lake and raising waves on its surface. The youngest dragon, just like the youngest brother of the classic fairy tale, is quite plain: he is brown- skinned with no spots on and he cannot roar. But even children know that appearances are deceptive. The elder brothers are envious and wicked, and it is the youngest that is chosen to be the protagonist of the story because he has a compassionate heart full of fraternal love.
Following the remarkably formulaic patterns of the traditional folk tale, the author makes interesting shifts in the established roles of the characters. She creates truly remarkable personnel of subversive personages: a witch, who is tired of being scary, a black cat, who is no longer a bringer of ill luck, and a Dragon who is helpful and tame.
For the sake of her young readers Sarkissian brings the wild born dragon into the nursery, neutralizes the eerie mood of the dragon epics and domesticates him. In her other stories the author becomes even more ‘adroit’ ‘making’ dragons turn into nurses of royal children and tell them wonderful bedtime stories (“The King and the Dragon”) or act as patrons of brave and smart little girls (“The Emerald Scissors”).
The story is marked for its well-chosen and relevant wording and the measured pace of the narrative. The Three Dragons’ makes an enjoyable reading. With an easy-to-read text, gripping content, and bright colored illustrations on almost every page, the book will undoubtedly capture the interest of the young readers.
Anteaters are large animals, which have no teeth, but they have long and narrow tongues. Ripping open the ant nests they flick their long tongues out and eat the insects they find inside. However, long, long ago things were quite different. Back then anteaters had white and strong teeth and they ate berries, crunchy roots and tasty twigs they could find in their native wood. They munched their way into these forest delicacies and never cared to brush their teeth. And although the Badger, the thoughtful forest dentist warned them that their teeth might get black and decay, the unwise animals paid no heed to his warnings. Soon enough the Badger had to pull out all their teeth…
‘The Anteaters’ does not have a happy ending, because it is not a fairy tale, but rather a modern creation myth, an origin story. It can also be seen as a new harsh fable since it features skillfully anthropomorphized animal characters who behave so much like human creatures. A whole team of anthropomorphic animals and fantastic creatures can be found in other works of the author too. The text of this remarkable book leads to a moral lesson added more explicitly at the end of the story: because the anteaters did not brush their teeth, they were doomed to lose their teeth and be deprived of the scrumptious forest food.
It is doubtless a very intricate task to create a story that is both entertaining and moralistic. However, Nouneh Sarkissian, the author of this tale has achieved her goal. As a storyteller, she speaks in a steady, unhurried voice. Her style is playful, reminiscent of a wise parent who knows how to instruct her children through a captivating narrative.
Nouneh Sarkissian has illustrated the book herself. The sameness of the author and illustrator makes the text even more consistent: the two parallel narratives, the linear and the visual stories are flawlessly unified, and the text and image make one seamless whole.
Unique thinking, brilliant imagination, always a bright mind: this is the way to briefly describe the children’s writer Nouneh Sarkissian, the author of the book ‘Three Dragons’. ‘Three Dragons’ is one of her books, another testament to her authenticity. At first sight, it is a fairy tale, however, it appears to be a fairy tale because after reading it you get the feeling that you have somehow seen it all. This is the so-called mastery of the writer, who takes the reader in an unusual way to a reality that is magical, but mundane at the same time.
Nouneh Sarkissian has the magic key to the depths of children’s souls, reproducing the imaginary world hidden there. She does it with children and through children.
The vivid proof of these words is the literature created by the author, which is multilayered and close to the soul, which seems to be only for children, but successfully attracts adults as well.
Nouneh Sarkissian’s fairy tales are honest and kind, even if they are about a dragon. Kindness prevails in them, and evil loses its essence.
The author always chooses her illustrators carefully. The book illustrations are a separate topic, which seems to have been fed by the authenticity of the books’ content and have become vivid images that speak to the reader.
The fairy tale ‘Three Dragons’ with its simple narration and colourful images enchants from the beginning. The tale of the three dragon brothers is trying to prove that in reality the evil beings can be turned to good. People’s actions can be viewed as evil based on events and circumstances. However, feelings motivated by jealousy are eventually corrected when a person realizes the mistake. In this fairy tale, it is emphasized, the idea of accepting mistakes, renewing the relationship, solidarity, care love and unity in the family.
A child’s personality and character are formed in the family. And the reading of Nouneh Sarkissian’s literature forms a culture for the correct upbringing of a child in the family.
Reading as an educational method is evident in the author’s magical stories. National Children’s Library named after Khnko Aper is one of the active advocates of this method and its application.
The ‘Three Dragons’ tale is one of the best and most visible evidence of the use of this method. This is why the story of Three Dragons is very popular with children visiting the library because not only Nouneh Sarkissian’s dragons are not evil, but they are able to attract children.