French picture book expert shares knowledge [fr]
Janine Kotwica has just completed a series of talks in New Zealand on picture books, including one on sheep, which provided plenty of inspiration to local teachers.
Following her illustrated discussion session at the Alliance Française Wellington on sheep in picture books, Janine Kotwica paid a visit to the Embassy to talk about what goes into a good book.
In her lecture in Wellington, Mme. Kotwica touched on how sheep had been depicted in picture books ranging from myths and fables to more contemporary titles.
The shepherds, shepherdesses and wolves were common features in many French picture books, she said.
"The wolf, throughout Western Europe is very significant, because it’s an age-old fear of all children. Children are threatened by wolves."
Talks were also held in Christchurch Auckland, and Palmerston North, where the focus turned to depictions of World War One.
Mme Kotwica said most good picture books combined relatively simple language with a deep message. When it came to illustrations, abstract pictures could be as good as more lifelike representations.
"Children also like constructing their own knowledge. When a book is too defined, a child cannot fully exercise its imagination.
"One must leave them space for personal creativity, and abstract [illustrations] give them a lot more room for creativity than more representational ones - I like representational books too...but we must not deprive them of that."
Mme Kotwica said Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince remained her favourite picture book.
"I know it off by heart."
Mme Kotwica travelled to New Zealand with support from the French Embassy.