INSIGHTS & STORIE Child Development Today: A Conversation with Parastoo Souezi, Director of the Zanboor (Bee) Book Series

Child Development Today: A Conversation with Parastoo Souezi, Director of the Zanboor (Bee) Book Series

Child Development Today: A Conversation with Parastoo Souezi, Director of the Zanboor (Bee) Book Series

Revolutionizing Child Development: Exclusive Interview Child Development Bee Book Series

Gaj Publications has been specializing in educational matters for years. The research workshops of this publication cover a wide range of specific and general linguistic areas. Gaj’s policy involves examining various educational approaches and selecting strategies in the direction of advancing the scientific progress of students in this cultural context. Gaj’s movement in this direction is backed by its rich and fruitful experience. Now, leveraging this foundation, Gaj aims to enter the field of children’s literature. Gaj’s approach to children’s literature is not a repetition of previous paths in this domain. The publication has always been innovative and pioneering. Gaj’s investment in the promising Bee Book Series marks a new beginning in Iranian children’s literature. Gaj’s research and operational groups have spent years carefully examining issues related to child development and analyzing the approaches of active publications in this field. Gaj is a very distinctive brand in this regard.

In a conversation with Ms. Parastoo Souezi, an expert in the field of child development and the manager of the Bee Book Series, we delved into the analysis and discussion of children's literature in Iran and the world, as well as the critical examination of the associated challenges. She shared her concerns and plans in the realm of child development with us. Read on for more:

Gaj Publications has specializedly entered the realm of children during this period. Do you not have concerns about the risks in this domain?

Gaj Publications has been addressing educational issues with expertise for years. The research workshops of this publication cover a wide range of specific and general language issues. Gaj’s policy involves exploring diverse educational approaches and selecting strategies in line with the scientific progress of students on this frontier.

The background of our movement in this path is the rich and fruitful experience of Gaj in this field. Now, leveraging such a foundation, Gaj intends to enter the field of children. Gaj’s approach to children’s literature is not a repetition of previous paths in this area. This publication has always been innovative and pioneering. Gaj’s investment in the promising Bee Book Series marks a new beginning in the field of children’s literature in Iran. Gaj’s research and operational groups have been meticulously examining issues in the field of children and analyzing the problems, observing the approaches of active publications in this area for years. Gaj is a very different brand in this field.

In which specific section of the children's domain do you specialize?

Every flower has its own fragrance. The taste of honey from the bee’s hive is sweet and diverse. Honestly, creating a literary work for children has its own distinctive features. Expanding and explaining the specialized concepts in this field requires in-depth scholarly discussions and meticulous critique sessions, which are not covered in this article. In summary, the Bee Book Series, with a child-centric approach in all dimensions of this domain, has been dedicated to creating literary works for children. The unique compositions of this series in the areas of prose and verse, reinterpretation, and rewriting of classic stories with astonishing illustrations are part of this endeavor. The extraordinary 40-volume series “Quranic Stories” marks a fresh beginning in children’s literature in Iran, focusing on both visual and narrative aspects.

In the field of child development, how much attention have you given to the native roots of the learning environment for children?

Children are the products of teachings acquired from their native environment. The content production in the Bee Book Series is based on the cultural and religious roots of this land. Education and upbringing have undergone significant transformations in the modern world, so in sync with these global changes, we must also innovate. Old methods have become obsolete. Even in the translation of books, these indigenizations have been carried out meticulously. Cultural roots are not an easy concept to overlook. Contemporary literature is not the outcome of an abstract event; culture forms the foundation for the growth and development of modern literature.

Where does the position of modern data lie in contemporary society?

Does this mean you want to dismiss the cultural background by presenting modern data?! Let’s be realistic; modern society is the result of collective intellectual evolution. Exploring the sociocultural aspects of literature refers to the human position in the context of “modern intellect” in contemporary society. Children’s literature is not an isolated incident in this domain. In the classification of children’s literature, our reference is to the realm of oral literature or general culture. Let’s not complicate the matter too much; modern data is the product and outcome of culture playing the role of predecessor data. The origin and position of children’s literature are defined and determined within these cultural structures. The definition, determination, and role of a child in this structure involve the acceptance of a collective phenomenon in connection with a purposeful society. My argument is not whether the child is a product of modern data or not; instead, I want to say that the outcome of a child’s intellect contributes to the construction of more modern social data. A child’s growth occurs within the cultural framework of their region. With this definition, we can consider a child as the foundation for sustainable development.

In what environment does the child develop?

Deep research and developmental perspectives place the child in a developmental environment; an environment where children are purposeful and creative architects of society. Honestly, do you know what a story is? It’s a child. I want to say whether we have forgotten children or given them difficult dictates. If we define the child in the context of “creative wisdom” (emphasizing this term), this wisdom itself becomes the foundation for development in the world. Children of the world are the missing link in contemporary life. They can bring peace and tranquility to the world. The developmental foundation passes through the blossoming core of children’s hidden talents.

Where is the position of Iranian children's literature in the world? It is better to ask, has the contemporary children's literature of Iran grown in sync with the modern children's literature of the world?

Literature is not a field of competition or filling personal showcases; rather, it is the definition of a social phenomenon in improving the quality of collective life. Literature in this land has roots in a millennia-old culture; children’s literature is a small part of this vast field. In the land of Iran, oral literature or popular culture, through myths, proverbs, tales, and most importantly lullabies and songs, refers to a beginning with a rich background. Examining the historical trajectory of children’s literature in Iran from ancient times to the contemporary period answers the ambiguities of this field. Perhaps in recent years, we have taken a small step forward in the narrative and illustration domain (with the emphasis mostly on illustration), but this article is another tale of pain. Look at the field of writing and producing children’s texts in the contemporary publishing market in Iran; I’m not entering into the discussion of a specific book or author, just count the number of authors and significant books in this field. It’s so few that… let it pass. 

My point is that writing children’s books in this field is so impoverished that it cannot be evaluated. In the translation discussion, the situation is even more painful; rushed and erroneous translations and the improper selection of low-content or even contentless books, and the mismatch with the target market’s demand, add another layer of pain to the existing problems in this field. Some publishers in this field either suffer from the pain of poverty or the concern for reputation. In the field of children’s illustration, although we have taken some steps forward, we still have a long way to go. The illustration field is directly related to the concept of writing. We must accept that being present in the international arena has its own requirements.

What is the prioritization of your goals in the bee book collection?

Our sole priority is the institutionalization of scientific approaches to child development based on culture and the needs of today’s society. Today’s child experiences their unique life. The realm of children is a vast and profound ocean. Where are we in this story? I say we must strive. Distinguish the path from the impassable; it’s a challenging road but traversable. Contemporary concepts, well-versed in the space of modern children’s literature, not only do not contradict the cultural climate but are a refreshing life source. I emphasize that our approach at Zanboor is to build a sweet hive for all children worldwide. Our priority is to meet the needs of children and nurture their talents towards social adaptability and entry into the world of tomorrow.

In your series, how have these concepts been institutionalized, and how have you endeavored to enhance the social quality of life for children and their social adaptability?

Literature is not a field of competition and personal showcases; it is the definition of a social phenomenon for the improvement of collective quality of life. Literature has its roots in this ancient culture, stemming from a culture thousands of years old; children’s literature is a fragment of this vast domain. Literature in oral or public culture in Iran; in the form of myths, metaphors, proverbs, and, most importantly, lullabies and songs, refers to a beginning with a solid background. Examining the historical trajectory of children’s literature in Iran from ancient times to the modern era responds to the ambiguities of this field. Perhaps in recent years, in the field of narration and illustration (which is more of its form), we have taken some steps forward, but this article is another story of pain. Look at the issue of writing and producing children’s books in the contemporary publishing market in Iran; I’m not talking about the discussion of a specific book or author, just count the number of authors and important books in this field. It’s so scarce that… Let’s move on. My point is not that the child is a product of modern data or not, but that the growth of child intelligence is the result of creating more modern social products. The growth of a child in the cultural context of his or her region takes place. With this definition, we can consider the child as the groundwork for sustainable development.

In what environment does a child develop within the framework of development?

The child is like a multicolored carpet with woven hues and patterns in the fabric of society. Exploring a child’s creative potential involves complexities and ups and downs. The research groups in this series operate based on the needs and addressing the deprivations and limitations of children. Our goal is to diagnose issues and adopt appropriate approaches to eliminate deficiencies and imbalances in this field. Educational and nurturing topics for children are presented within the framework of modern narrative and imagery structures. The scientific and educational workshops of this series strive to improve and enhance the current state. A child is not an economic market for opportunistic businesses; they are a social entity, and their outcome is a modern social product, implying a transformation in technological development and the vitality of society.

What are your plans to be in the international arena?

As I mentioned, literature in this region has its roots in the rich and ancient culture. Understanding this fundamental concept is crucial. We must know what a treasure we are the inheritors of. The classical literature of this land is a treasury of invaluable riches. The rewriting, recreation, and various precise and child-centric illustrations form the unparalleled beehive of the bee in the Iranian publishing market. In the field of authoring and translation, we move based on specific styles and criteria. We have made all the necessary preparations for our presence in this market. Different sections of our series are defined in a way that covers all the needs of children and the requirements for international presence. The bee is not just a brand; it is the sweet beehive for children worldwide. Bee’s honey is on the way; (smiles) wishing you sweet times!

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