A constant Christmas Christmas? Children of Bullerbyn or Little Prince

Interview with Karolina Medková, editor-in-chief of Albatros, about the Christmas market, 65 years of publishing and the fact that the book keeps being given as gifts and children keep reading.

prague – We still hear alarming reports that children don’t read and parents don’t have time to read them. However, the editor of the Albatros publishing house, Karolina Medková, has other experiences.

The book always serves as an appropriate gift when celebrating a birthday, certificate or Christmas. According to research by the publishing house, this happens in up to 80% of cases. “And thanks to Czech parents for that, they still see books as an important part of a child’s development, that books just belong in the family,” he says.

Worries that Czech children read ballast are allayed by the fact that classics such as The Children of Bullerbyn and The Little Prince still top the list of must-have “books under the tree.”

A.cz: Is Christmas the main season for publishers?

Karolina Medková, editor-in-chief of the Albatros publishing house. | Photo: Albatros Media

Karolina Medkova: Christmas is high season for all publishers, as is children’s books. The beginning of the school year is also important, and they decide which books to spend the next year with. Added to this is a required reading and a list of recommended books.

A.cz: Is the Christmas ranking different from the usual rankings of the year?

Parents, grandparents and those who buy children’s books under the tree in general are very conservative. Classic things therefore sell solidly throughout the year, but they jump twice as much at Christmas.

A.cz: What is a Christmas hit?

Among the most successful and best-selling books for a long time are The Children of Bullerbyn, The Little Prince and, for the youngest, Polámal se mraveneček. A very popular book is also Diary of a Blue-Eyed Cat. Named titles serve as an ever-popular Christmas gift, we sell them out by the thousands before Christmas.

A.cz: Do you like this taste of readers and book buyers?

Yes, and I’m a little surprised. It is still said that today’s children do not read much, that parents do not have time to read to their children. But there is a lot of text in the Children of Bullerbyn, for example, and yet it is still read in families. It’s not just a gift to put in the library. We get enthusiastic emails from parents telling us they bought the Children of Bullerbyn and their kids still love it.

A.cz: How do special Christmas books work, such as a set of fairy tales or Christmas short stories?

Christmas books do well in a Christmas market, but we don’t do that very often. We believe a children’s book should work all year round, not just at Christmas. Last year we released František Kožík’s Christmas Bell Fairy Tales, which are wonderful, we released Astrid Lindgren’s Christmas Stories, which also work very well.

A.cz: And this year?

This year, we are not publishing a book with Christmas in the title, but we are preparing several books to be given away. Gift books include Labyrinths of the World, an art book, as well as Old Testament paintings with stunning panoramic paintings. Alternatively, Fairy Tales from Beads from the Beads edition, which was very popular in the 60s and 70s.

A.cz: This year, you are celebrating your 65th anniversary. Did you prepare anything special?

Golden Dozen 2014 or What today’s adults loved

1. Božena Němcová fairy tales
2. Robinson Crusoe
3. Children of Bullerbyn
4. White Fang
5. Dášeňka or the life of a puppy
6. Mysterious Island
7. Vinnetou
8. KJ Erben’s Fairy Tales
9. Mikes
10. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
11. Kubula and Kuba Kubikula
12. Luisa and Lotka

Source: Young Readers Club

On the occasion of this anniversary, we organized a Golden Dozen survey. We contacted authors, illustrators, important figures of Czech culture, librarians and asked them what childhood book they liked to remember. We have compiled twelve winning books. The fairy tales of Božena Němcová, Robinson Crusoe and the children of Bullerbyn won the medals. And Božena Němcová’s winning fairy tales will be published a month before Christmas, on November 24. We managed to get Václav Kabát for the illustrations.

A.cz: Do people invest before Christmas in more expensive securities, for which they would not pay so much money during the year?

Partly yes. Even the most expensive publications will find their place, however, we try not to work completely like that on children’s books. My idea is to get as many children’s books as possible, which means that in today’s tough economic times, it can’t be too expensive. We have only a minimum of children’s books, which cost more than three hundred crowns. If you imagine the grandmother going to buy a Christmas present, three hundred crowns is a lot of money for her. People are willing to pay more before Christmas, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to abuse it. So it’s definitely not like we’re waiting for the Christmas market with expensive books.

A.cz: Does it surprise you that even in our modern, over-technological times, books are still the most common Christmas present?

It still surprises me a bit, though, what we think is reality, and reality itself is a bit different. It is still said that children do not read, but research does not completely confirm this.

A.cz: Do you have personal research?

Yes, and you confirm that whether it’s Christmas, birthdays or certificates, it’s always a book. Sure, it’s usually a book and something, but the book is there 80% of the time, which is amazing. And for that, Czech parents deserve to be thanked because they always perceive books as an important part of a child’s development, that books simply belong to the family.

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