Motivation for the development of children's literature

The fourth National Book Awards in 2021 has honoured many children's literary works, with one A, four B, and two C prizes presented in the category out of the total of 24 winning entries. This shows that children's literature has been receiving greater attention from authors, readers and publishing houses, which offer prospects for the further development of the genre.

Motivation for the development of children's literature
Motivation for the development of children's literature

This year’s awards received 62 book titles in the children’s book category. This is the outcome of the joint efforts and practical contributions made by publishers, book companies, and authors. It also illustrated the endeavours of the award’s council in the care and education of children – the future generation of country.

Notably, a children’s book won one of the two A prizes of this year’s awards. It was an art book about wildlife titled ‘Chang hoang da – Gau’ (Wild Chang and Bear), which was written by Trang Nguyen and illustrated by Jeet Zdung.

The book tells the journey of Chang, a young girl with big dreams of saving endangered wild animals. Chang’s adventure begins when she meets Sorya, a sun bear who was saved from traffickers by the Bear Rescue Centre. She is determined to return Sorya back to nature.

Together, Chang and Sorya help readers to discover the beauty of nature and the life of wild animals through their stories.

The 120-page book was released in Vietnam in March, 2020. It was then released in the UK in September 2021 following a copyright agreement signed by the book’s publisher, Kim Dong Publishing House, and its partner, Pan MacMillan. It has been issued by Pan MacMillan in five countries, namely China, the Republic of Korea, Norway, Turkey and the US.

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Cover and bookmarks from "Chang hoang da - Gau" (Wild Chang and Bear) (Photo: Kim Dong Publishing House)

There were periods of time when children's literature had not received proper investment for development. There was also the lack in specific plans and activities to promote and encourage the development of the genre. In addition, writing about children and for children are always a challenge for writers.

Acknowledging the shortcomings, the Vietnam Writers Association has taken action to foster the development of children's literature with various plans, activities and awards.

This year's National Book Awards witnessed the rising of young writers with assorted entries in the children’s book categories which won a number of high prizes. Their entries not only featured rich and fascinating content, but also displayed the authors’ creativity in applying graphics and digital technology, which helped to generate much joy and interesting visual effects for readers, particularly children.

The launch of new awards and fresh activities on children’s books as well as the greater participation of young writers in this genre have created new motivation for the further development of children’s literature.