By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: November 18, 2011
Tatiana currently works at the University of Illinois. She lives in Illinois with her husband and son who inspired her to write books for children. Tatiana is now working on her new literary project: the Russian translation of “The Night Before Christmas” by C. C. Moore. For more information about the author and her books, please visit her website http://www.unforgettable-christmas.com.
You have considered yourself a writer since your childhood days. Can you share a little on your background and how you became a published author?
When I came to live in the U.S. in 2005 I had to literally start my life from srcatch. There were many hurdles I had to go through and I learnt a lot on the way. At a certain point I realised that I had tons of notes on such issues as how to look for a job or start your own small business and I felt that I must share this information with other people to make their transition easier. That’s how my first book, “The Legal Alien’s Guide” was born.
I read that you wrote the book Russian Winter Folk Tales to help people on both sides of the Atlantic to understand each other better and learn to appreciate the cultural diversity we have in the world. What will children who read your tales relate to the most?
I think generally the concepts of “good” and “evil” are universal. Children will have no problems drawing parallels with the fairy tales from their own countries. The heros are heros and villans are villans – even the youngest crowd will easily relate to that.
Being that Russia is your country of birth, how important was it for you to create this collection?
It was very important to me. I really wanted people to learn more about my country beyond the mainstream media propaganda. When I was in school in Russia we had to study a lot of British and American writers, we read everythig from Shakespear to Mark Twain as part of our obligatory curriculum. I do not believe American kids study a lot of Russian literature in school, if any at all. That’s where a lot of of misconceptions about my country come from. This collection of folk tales is an easy introduction to Russian literature, culture and mentality.
What age group did you write the book for?
The kids who illustrated my book are ages 3 to 15. I got feedback from most of them that they loved the stories, so, that makes me believe that readers within this wide age group will enjoy the book.
How did you select which pictures to include with your tales?
This was actually the hardest part of the whole project. All chidren who submitted art works are so talented! I created a small panel including my husband, my son, my parents who all helped me to decide. Sometimes it came down to a simple majority vote because otherwise it was impossibel to decide which of the two beuatiful pictures is better. It litterally broke my heart at times that I had to choose just 1 finalist for each story.
Your collection of tales offers quite a bit of diversity. It includes stories about indigenous people, animals, fairies and other imagined creatures. Is there are a particular tale that you find readers enjoy the most? If so, why?
I find the readers enjoy the stories that give answers to the burning questions that they have, for example: Why the Snow is White? How Winter Begins? Who is the Strongest in the World? (these are the actual titles of the stories). These stories reveal the “secrets” that children are always wondering about.
Should we expect to see another book from you soon?
I am currently working on translating “The Night Before Christmas” by C.C. More into Russian.
Which books from your own childhood have most influenced your life?
Aside from Russian folk tales (which would be an obvious answer), I loved stories by Rudyard Kipling (including the Jungle Book), Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland. These books cultivated my adventurous nature and the love for travelling.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Always start with an open mind and never forget the spirit of adventure and exploration. Take in everything the world offers you, learn from it, and use this knowledge to make the world a better place.
Add this book to your collection: Russian Winter Folk Tales
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