Dubai, 2012: When I first heard about the CaN at ARTE, I actually thought that they were performing artists specialised in the Can-Can, a dance that originated in Paris in the early 1800s. I was to find out that CaN is a concept by Celine (who loves chocolate) and Nora (who loves pickles) created to recognize children’s creativity in unique ways. So, parents, read on.
Celine shares, “We decided to write the book together because it was primarily our love for children’s creative ways to doing and seeing things. Children are limitless, their creativity is immense and they are always on the look for new strategies and ways of doing things. Another thing is that children are always proud of what they make, write or draw and as adults we sometimes take this for granted so this is another way for us to recognize their talent.
“When children draw the world around them, they put details in that adults may have overlooked and come up with the cutest of descriptions. It is always a joy to hear the children explaining what they drew and the reason for drawing it. This creativity also translates in language; for example, when they are taking things and putting them into a different context or when they are twisting common sayings…”
‘Bringing drawings to life’
The talented duo (Celine being the writer and Nora being the graphic designer/illustrator) print children’s illustrations on a variety of household and design items (such as cushions, scarves or bean bags)! This concept called ‘bringing drawings to life’ is one of the activities CaN has come up with.
“Mommy, I am an ostrich today!”
This book is a collection of fun quotes from children, illustrated by children’s drawings which we published last year as a hardcover and an e-book. As Celine says, “Children relate closely to the book and their characters and always debate whether that particular character was naughty or not!”
The reason that CaN switched to an ebook is that they wanted the book to be accessible outside of the UAE. “Giving the new generation an inside as to what their future libraries will look like. Amazon is selling more e-books than paper books and the trends confirms each year that passes by. We believe it is important for children to have a dual approach to reading, increasing flexibility and accessibility to the material of the book.”
“As a natural progression came the book workshops for children the idea to have them both on an e-book and paper based versions emerged. This means the children can share their work with family abroad easily. We have several formulae and have chosen to give Arte visitors a free collective e-book making opportunity. Each child writes and illustrates one or two pages of a collective book which we will then put together and send by email.”
“Bringing Books to Life”
“We organise various book making workshops where children either collectively or individually will write and illustrate a book which will then be formated as an e-book with the possibility be ordered as a printed copy. The e-books that will be done by the children on market days will be emailed to each participant within 10 days.
“Regarding our e-book workshops we vary the themes as we know children may come and visit several times. One of the theme is about sisters and brothers (I love my brother because … or My sister is a little monster when she…) and you definitely learn funny things about each other! Another theme we have taken for Arte in April is ” I am, I am not”, enabling children to define their identity and its opposite.
“Our published book is in English and so are the e-books we are putting together. When children don’t speak English we let them write in Arabic, French, Italian etc … We are looking at formulas to conduct workshops in Arabic too, so watch that space!”
“Bringing Art to Life”
Parents give us artwork done by their children over the years. We compile them and print them into a coffee table book for all to enjoy. All the creativity that was hidden in a box or a drawer can now shine and be shared by all!
What can parents expect from CaN at ARTE?
“Arte was our platform of choice because of the quality and the regularity of the markets. We have been Arte visitors for many years and love the variety of exhibitors there. As a vendor we found the organisers to be extremely supportive. They give us valuable advice that helps us develop, they are open to new ideas, they are using all the available platforms to advertise, and they are very reliable.
“We set-up a free activity for Arte visitors. Parents can come with their children and participate into a collective e-book making. Each child writes and illustrate one or two pages of a collective book which we will then put together and send by email. We want to encourage book reading, writing and art skills for children. It also gives the opportunities for the dads to sit down and have some quiet time with the children whilst the mums browse Arte Souk.
The CaN book “Mommy, i am an ostrich today” is available to buy at both Times Square (11th of May, 2012) and Festival City (4th of May, 2012) in May and authors can sign it for you too.
Visit the CaN by Celine and Nora facebook page.