It was 2016 when I published my first Armenian children’s book Ուրախ Խոզուկը (The Happy Piggy), and launched Kids Reading Armenian (KRA). The absence of Western Armenian board books for my then one year-old made this a necessity, so I just figured it out and self-published a book with the financial support of friends and family via a Kickstarter campaign.
Fast forward four years, and I’m happy to announce that I’ve just published my third Armenian children’s board book Anoush Koon, Pari Yeraz!
In this book, Nabasdag, whose bedtime has come and gone, struggles to focus to get into bed. The antics of the bedtime routine—brushing, washing, drinking water, reading a book, drinking even more —prevent Nabasdag from getting the rest that’s needed to have energy for the next day. Using adorable illustrations that depict familiar bedtime delay tactics, the book emphasizes the importance of sleep and getting to bed on time.
The title Anoush Koon, Pari Yeraz which translates to ‘sweet sleep, good dream,’ is a traditional Armenian goodnight wish. As a child, this is how my beloved grandmother would end each day when we visited her in New Jersey during the summertime. When I repeat those same words to my own children every night, I’m reminded of her love and kindness. I have hopes that my children will continue to use the goodnight wish, and in that way, a piece of my grandmother will be carried on in our family.
Today, our home library has grown into a larger collection of Armenian language childrens’ books than I could have ever imagined back in 2016, but it’s still not enough! Children will always have their favorites and will want to read them over and over, night after night. But giving them new stories to learn, new Armenian words to hear and new characters to love will broaden their interest and give them a wider selection of Armenian books to help them improve their literacy.
Now, more than ever, we need to instill this interest and love for the Armenian language so that it lives on for generations to come. Armenian literacy has been, and will continue to be, the mission of Kids Reading Armenian.