Photos by Lilit Zeynalyan
During this program, which is held with the purpose of helping make children’s summer vacation interesting and instructive, children and youth read and analyze books, and the most active participants receive precious gifts. Taking into consideration the fact that there are few children visiting bookstores recently, Zangak Publishing House has taken on the responsibility of solving the issue.
Zangak Publishing House is guided by the motto “Read and Exchange”, providing schoolchildren with the opportunity to read all the books in the children’s “shack”. Those books were available at several bookstores. By purchasing one of those books, a schoolchild had the chance to exchange it with other books temporarily “residing” in the “shack” during the three months of summer.
According to Emin Mkrtchyan, the director of the publishing house, it is still not accepted to see children at bookstores in Armenia, but in many developed countries, parents escort their children and organize their leisure at bookstores as well. “The goal of this program is to fill that gap. These small, but affirmative steps need to set the mood for children and motivate them to visit bookstores more often, know where they are located, what books are sold, etc. The children’s visits should make publishers create more favorable environments,” Mkrtchyan said.
Eritasard.am: Mr. Mkrtchyan, was the program also accessible for schoolchildren in Armenia’s provinces? How many schoolchildren participated in the program?
Emin Mkrtchyan: The summer reading program was held for schoolchildren in both Yerevan and in the provinces. Although the situation in the provinces is painful due to the lack of bookstores, I believe our collaborations with several regional representatives will help achieve noticeable results. This year, about 400 schoolchildren participated in the program. In total, more than 1,000 schoolchildren have participated in the program over the past three years. What is nice is not only the number, but also the fact that the program helps make the children feel a love for reading. Besides our bookstore, we also organize similar events in several other bookstores so that children start reading books at an early age.
Eritasard.am: How were the best book lovers encouraged?
E. M.: We divided the winners into two groups, including the best and the most active. Out of the 400 schoolchildren, 26 won. As in previous years, there were also public prizes. For six months, the schoolchildren having read the most books transfer the “shack” to the library of their school so that their friends also read the books. This year, the winning school was
School #26. As for the schoolchildren who were not recognized as the best, but were active, they received books, discount cards and more. In addition, we will also engage the winners in the organizing of children’s programs.
Eritasard.am: Zangak Publishing House also publishes school textbooks. Under what principle do you publish or republish them?
E. M.: We publish most of the school textbooks upon the order of the Ministry of Education and Science. Our publishing house participates in tenders on a regular basis. Alongside that, we also publish several manuals to organize the learning process in a more effective manner. We also collaborate with the leading field-related experts, most of whom are members of the publishing council. We hold discussions and conduct analyses before the release of each book. As far as republication is concerned, the books are republished with certain supplements and in accordance with modern approaches.
Eritasard.am: Do you study the international experience?
E. M.: Naturally. I must also proudly mention the fact that the books of our publishing house are no different from foreign books in terms of quality and content. For instance, our “Mathematics” textbook has already been translated into a number of languages. Schools of Kyrgyzstan use our textbooks. This is also an indicator showing that our books are also competitive in the international market in terms of quality and content. Our team of creators always follows up on the opinions of experts, parents and schoolchildren and draws conclusions.
Eritasard.am: Over the past few years, there has been an increase in the number of translated books. Under what principle does the publishing house determine which books will be translated? Which book will soon be available for readers?
E. M.: There are many books, and it is hard for us to determine which one will be first, especially when it comes to children’s literature since the list is quite long. Of course, there are flaws, but we do our best to make sure the books are from the “golden” fund. The translations of books shouldn’t only characterize the given period. We mainly want to print books that will be remnant. We mainly print books in 500 copies, but this is obviously not a good indicator from the perspective of business…This is main reason why we can’t translate many books. We have great expectations from the publication of the book “Harry Potter 2”, and we are working in that direction…