LOS ANGELES—Karenn Chutjian Presti, author of “My First Armenian Songbook,” has written a children’s chapter book in Western Armenian, titled “Asdghig Wants to Grow Up Quickly” – “Աստղիկը Կ՚ուզէ Արագ Մեծնալ.” Dr. Presti is a pianist who lectures at the University of California, Los Angeles, and works with opera singers teaching lyric diction. She speaks five languages, and is a passionate crusader for teaching children literacy and fluency in Armenian.
“It’s not enough to put the onus upon our children and our schools. We need to make children’s literature enjoyable for those who possess the skills to read it. There are so many books for the first years, and then we have a desert for our school-aged Armenian children, with almost exclusively didactic literature to offer. How
will our children graduate to reading our Armenian greats if they don’t have children’s literature relevant to their lives: bullying, overprotective parents, and whether the tooth fairy actually exists? And what about our children who under-stand Armenian but don’t possess the skills to read it? The audiobook genre is long overdue in Armenian literature, and can work wonders in enriching the vocabulary of a language many people hear only at home.”
“Asdghig Wants to Grow Up Quickly” was awarded a grant by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. It was illustrated by Alastair Sadler – who worked with Presti on “My First Armenian Songbook” – and edited by Sarkis Mahseredjian. In an effort to make it easy to read, at least every two pages include an illustration and are printed in 17-pt font.
“Asdghig Wants to Grow Up Quickly” is available at both Sardarabad and Abril bookstores, and can be shipped abroad. More books and audiobook samples are available online.