By Star Ortiz
Write for babies
I write stories for babies because I love to tell them. Fortunately, I have many opportunities to do so, because in addition to being a writer, I am a professional oral narrator (I like to call myself a storyteller). Perhaps it was precisely my continued practice and experience of counting and singing to babies that paved the way for them to write. Fortunately, being in contact with childhood continually reminds me of the girl who is still in me, and who is the first recipient of my ideas.
Although the texts in baby books are usually short, I like to work so that they are united, that is, that they have a narrative development - no matter how simple it may be - and a clear ending that closes the plot and gives meaning to the whole story. set. Due to my professional facet as a storyteller, experience has led me to greatly value oral tradition, verbal formulas, rhythm, games and songs that have circulated from voice to voice since ancient times, as their structures resistant to the passage of time keep a lot of Wisdom and its simple and crazy themes continue to enchant the little ones.
Sometimes, the initial spark of a text arises precisely from the memory of a traditional game or song that in my imagination suddenly takes flight, as it happened with Out for a walk, a text that started from the traditional game "walking, trotting, galloping" in which the baby, sitting on the adult's knees, lives the rhythmic movement that is transmitted to him by humming.
This simple string of words was what sparked my writing. On another occasion, I wanted to invent a game to tickle and that's where it was born Little critters, a poem in which the rhymes run through the baby's body.
The world around us
I like to think that what I write accompanies the precious moments of beginning to know things, nature, and of naming them. From this desire to share the wonders of the world was born Colours, a book in which the coloring of the animal and plant world is presented, and on which a silent string of numbers is underlain.
This is also the case in Everything in its place, a text in which I stopped to play with the surroundings near the home in conjunction with everyday animals. For me it was a pleasure to rhyme pairs of places and animals, which the illustrator Pigeon Valdivia He solved so beautifully by placing them all in the corners of a single house.
Vocabulary for baby
Within the inclination - I think natural - to use terms and vocabulary from the environment close to the baby, it seems important to me not to be afraid to include little-known words, if the life of the text so requires. We must not forget that every word has a dazzling sound power, in addition to its meaning, and more in these ages; Let's think about onomatopoeia, jitanjaphora and other sound verbal beings. The word is an incursion into silence that sometimes results in an incantation or song, and that holds within itself a little magic. On the other hand, any unfamiliar word can be easily guessed if received within its context. To this is added the clarifying power of the illustration, because although it is not necessarily descriptive of what is said in the text, it does usually provide valuable elements for its understanding. And last but not least, the text addressed to the baby is understood thanks to the intonation, the gestures and the original interpretations of the person who is reading it.
Consequently, when I write the poem I already count (unconsciously, perhaps) with the complicity of that adult so that he "does something" in the development of his reading: either hum the poem or accompany it with intonations and gestures directed towards the baby. . I consider that a text for these ages as a general rule does not tend towards introspection, but towards action, which is why in its essence always beats an invitation to play with sound, visual and body. A game that I imagine in three ways: book, mediator and baby.
Small in size and for young readers, a book of this type is a very careful product. In addition to the text, illustrations are essential, which open a door to aesthetic appreciation and visual understanding of the plot. Also very important is the work of caring for the book object itself: the size suitable for small hands, its weight, type of paper - resistant to blows and sucking and at the same time as soft as possible to avoid accidents - and other physical qualities that they provide May these first contacts with the book become a memorable pleasant experience.
In short, I firmly believe that all of us involved in the work of making books for babies - those who edit, write, illustrate and present live - we practice by vocation the utmost respect for children. So that the creatures, tender recipients, live and sleep wrapped in the beautiful stories. Wonderful sea, childhood, full of fish of all colors.