By Hoàng Nam & Bích Vân
Painter Nagano Hideko is known as a mother, grandmother and a great friend of Japanese children. She is also the author of many famous picture books published all over the world, some of which have been published in Việt Nam.
“Her books have light and simple content, which stimulate children’s observation and discovery through detailed illustrations,” said Lê Hiền, director of the More Production Vietnam Company, which specialises in publishing Japanese Ehon picture books in Việt Nam.
Some of her picture books include Setouchi Taiko-san Depâto Ikitai, The Day I Became Your Mom, Cats Doing Morning Exercises and Pull & Pull.
With an interest in Vietnamese culture, Hideko wants to inspire and share her passion in picture books with Vietnamese children. She visits Việt Nam from time to time to meet her young audience.
During her latest visit to Việt Nam in May, many Vietnamese children took part in a workshop with her and listened to her stories. She also helped them make toys from her books.
She herself made cute toys like fish and puppets with paper.
“I’m moved by the way she treats the children,” said Thanh Hoa, a parent, who accompanied his 3-year-old daughter to meet the painter.
Few people know that Hideko started to compose picture books when she had small children herself.
“A mother’s love is the soul in the vivid sketches,” Hiền said.
Her picture book Parents published by Sekifusha Publishing House won the Ehon Nihon-Sho Monbudaijin-sho prize; her book The Day I Became Your Mom won the Sankey prize for children’s books while her book Setouchi Taiko-san Depâto Ikitai also won the Nihon-Ehon-Sho prize.
“Watching her read Cô Cá Taiko Muốn Đi Bách Hóa (the Vietnamese version of Setouchi Taiko-san Depâto Ikitai), I liked the short, witty sentences,” Hoa said. “But my daughter loved the cute images of the female fish, who wears a hat and carries a handbag to go shopping.”
“Children can understand a profound meaning on life through the cute character,” she said.
Hideko said when making picture books for children, she had the chance to meet many youngsters.
“They offer me new ideas for my books,” she said. “I hope children have more books to read. We should create a proper environment for the children to understand the values of the books. We should balance time for them to play and read and regard reading as a form of entertainment.”
Hideko said she hopes though her books, children can improve their imaginations and, when they grow up, will have knowledge to tackle social issues.
According to Katsu Megumi, from More Production Vietnam, the company will spare no efforts to publish Japanese picture books in Việt Nam and organise meetings between Japanese writers and Vietnamese children.
The company has published two books by Hideko, namely Cô Cá Taiko Muốn Đi Bách Hóa and Kéo, Kéo (Pull & Pull).
Author Hideko, now 78, is still working on more books. Her works include Ehon picture books, Kamishibai folding picture books, plays and essays.
She is the chairwoman of Kamishibai Culture Development Association.
Last year, she received the Kurushima Takehiko Literature Prize. VNS