|There was a naughty boy: Students from To Hoang Primary School perform the play Su Tich Cay Vu Sua (The Legend of the Star Apple Tree), adapted from the folk tale of the same name that they studied in school. — VNS Photo Bach Lien
by Bach Lien
HA NOI (VNS) — On a small stage decorated minimally with a bamboo bed and a house made out of a carton with a thatched roof, a group of students from To Hoang primary school performed the play Su Tich Cay Vu Sua (The Legend of the Star Apple Tree), adapted from the folk tale of the same name that they studied in school.
Hundreds of students, parents and teachers, gathered around the stage, watched the play carefully, touched by the moving story the children enacted.
It is a story about a naughty son who did not pay heed to the words of his sweet mother and regretted his actions after her death, when it was too late. Through this play, the children said they wanted to convey the message to all others of their generation to always be kind to their parents.
Here, the group was participating in an inter-school city-level competition, in which they were required to creatively present stories based upon books.
The storytelling contest, which aims to encourage children to read books, was part of a diverse range of activities held at the Book Festival organised on Saturday at the National Library in the capital city.
The event continues until May 10, to commemorate Viet Nam Book Day, which falls on April 21, and World Book and Copyright Day, which is on April 23.
Held annually since 2006, the festival honours authors and their works, encourages reading in the community, and increases public awareness about the culture of reading, copy rights and the role of libraries.
"It is important to encourage everyone, the youth in particular, to develop a habit of reading as part of their learning process," deputy minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Dang Thi Bich Lien said at the event.
Since 8am on Saturday, the event attracted the participation of a large number of students, teachers and book lovers of all ages.
They were all eager to take part in various activities and games that were organised in the library. These included drawing and painting contests inspired by books, and games where they had to recognise the names of books and characters after listening to questions from the jury.
Readers participating in the festival could also meet and speak with authors and literary critics. Additionally, they took part in conferences honouring the award-winning works of the Viet Nam Writers' Association.
Furthermore, the ASEAN Book Corner was inaugurated at the library. As many as 1,000 books and documents featuring various cultures were displayed in this new space to highlight the variety of cultures of member states of the ASEAN and of other nations around the world.
In addition, visitors can purchase books on display at discounts.
At the festival, the National Library received hundreds of donated books in Vietnamese and in English, which will be distributed to libraries across the country.
To celebrate Viet Nam Book Day, book festivals were also launched on Saturday in HCM City and Da Nang City.
Schools, parents reproached
With the significant number of young readers participating in the event, organisers and experts are optimistic about Vietnamese youth developing the habit of reading.
Over the last few years, several literary experts have reproached schools and parents for not pushing children and students to choose to read more books, and also for not helping them read intelligently.
According to a 2014 survey conducted by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Information and Communications, the average rate of Vietnamese people reading books is only 0.8 books per person per year.
According to experts, it is important to organise more diverse activities during the year to encourage young people to read, as the country should not rely only on book festivals to promote reading.
The love for reading should be promoted by the families of students. They should build libraries in their homes, and schools should set up book clubs.
Also, according to historian Le Van Lan, Ha Noi should organise more street book fairs.
"Ha Noi is the heart of the country. If the city develops a strong community that reads good books, it will influence other localities," he said. — VNS