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Workshops with children in Tehran and Isfahan by Marit Törnqvist

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Marit Törnqvist the illustrator of Astrid Lindgren’s “Red Bird” and “Bigger than a Dream” by Jef Aerts, who have traveled to Iran to participate and lecture in Read with Me conference, held workshops for different groups of children in Isfahan and Mahmoudabad.

The copyright of these two books in Iran has been donated to the Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature by Marit Törnqvist, Astrid Lindgren’s family and Jef Aerts to be spent on Read with Me project in Deprived areas of Iran.

Marit Törnqvist, during her trip to Iran, visited Mahmoudabad. Mahmoudabad is a village near Shahr-e-Rey, Tehran, with a lot of break-making kilns where many people work and live. There are many children in these families who lack proper education and the quality of life that other children normally benefit. Supportive Education Center of Mahmoudabad is one of the centers in this area which provide learning courses for these children and book reading sessions based on Read with Me program are held in this center. In additions of book reading sessions, children can benefit a quality library with about 1500 books and mothers take part in “Reading with Babies and Toddlers” workshop which is held regularly in this center.

On 12 November 2016, Marit Törnqvist held two workshops for two groups of children in this center. These workshops were based on books “The Red Bird” and “Bigger than a Dream”.

The first workshop, “The Red Bird” was held in the morning for 5-6 year-old children. The workshop was started by narrating the story and showing the slides. Then she drew some different birds and asked each child to draw his/her visionary red bird. Then every child named a place that he/she wishes to be taken by the red bird and the word was written by their teachers under their drawings. The workshop ended by photographing all children with their drawings.

Children drawings in The Red Bird Workshop - Read with Me in Mahmoudabad, Isfahan - November 2016

Marit Törnqvist Book Signing - Read with Me in Mahmoodabad - November

The other workshop was held in the afternoon for young adults in the center and the workshop was based on the book “Bigger than a Dream”. At the beginning of this workshop, which was named “Lost Treasures”, the book was read aloud for children. Then the illustrator shared experiences of losing something such as a pet, a home or a beloved person with the children and she used the wording “Lost Treasures” for precious things that we love and we lose in our lives. Then she asked the children to draw their lost treasure on a paper and cut it out. Then the children glued their drawings on color papers and they framed it with the help of their teachers. It was a way that all children shared the experience of a loss in their lives.

Lost Treasures Workshop - Read with Me in Mahmoodabad - November 2016

She also visited some of the places where families live in kilns, she visited “Mahmoudabad Kids House (Pooyesh)”, another active cultural center in this village which runs Read with Me project and she also visited a small container which is used as a library to provide books for reading aloud sessions in different schools and preschools in this area in the framework of Read with Me project.

On 13-14 November she traveled to Isfahan by the invitation of the Association of children and adolescence literature lovers of Isfahan. On the first day, she held the “Lost Treasures” Workshop for a group of 30 children in the fourth grade of elementary school. In this workshop some other teachers and members of this association were present and they learned how to share the book with children.

The day after, she visited Hasseh in the north of Isfahan, where some deprived families live and she held “The Red Bird” workshop for a group of preschoolers. The workshop had a very energetic and joyful atmosphere due to the active presence of the children.

Marianne Lindberg, the children’s literature expert, accompanied Marit Törnqvist on this trip and she shared her experiences about reading promotion with teachers and authorities of these centers.

The Red Bird Workshop - Read with Me in Hasseh, Isfahan - November 2016

The Red Bird Workshop - Read with Me in Hasseh, Isfahan - November 2016

Children holding their drawings in The Red Bird Workshop - Read with Me in Hasseh, Isfahan - November 2016

This post is also available in: Persian