2004 Greece

Sponsoring Section: IBBY Greece. Text by Angeliki Varella and poster by Nicholas Andrikopulos.

The Light of the Books

The two children used to play with a globe. Spinning it round and round, they pointed their finger somewhere on the globe having their eyes closed. And if that point happened to be Peking, Madagascar or Mexico, they would look in the libraries for books with stories about the place they had chosen.

They loved reading. They enjoyed it. The light at their window was on till late at night.

It was with the 'light' of the books they had found themselves walking near the Great Wall of China, listening to the ocean song along with the Vikings, living beside the Pyramids in ancient Egypt, going for a sleigh-ride on the frozen lakes together with the Eskimos, participating in the games of ancient Olympia and being crowned with a branch of wild olive tree.

And whenever they fell asleep, all of the tales, the stories, the legends, the places, the writers, the heroes would be mixed up in their dreams to lull them gently to sleep: Aesop would recite his fables to Shahrazad from the highest place of the Eiffel Tower, while Christopher Columbus would listen to Tom Sawyer talking about his mischief on a river boat on the Mississippi River. Alice would travel in Wonderland together with Mary Poppins and Andersen would narrate his own tales to Ananse the Spider, outside a pyramid.

The games with the globe combined with the books made the children enjoy themselves immensely as it never seemed to end. They had found a way to become navigators and explorers through their pages. Their 'light' helped them to conquer the whole planet, live through different civilizations and eras and admire their great variety. In short, they could experience life in that great world, beyond their little room. They could fly everywhere, travel around and dream.

And of course, they would always forget to turn off the light!

"Are you going to sleep at last?" their parents would shout to them. "It's too late. Turn off the light!"

"We can't", they would always reply bursting into laughter. "The 'light' of the books never turns off."

 

Translated from Greek by Eva Kaliskami