Among the plethora of books for young people, few are those that combine the beautiful and the good. With their collection of classic books, Mame editions bring up to date albums whose stories are as charming as they are captivating, the vocabulary rich and the illustrations neat.
“When I read to my children The beautiful stories of Grandmotheror The Wonderful Christmas of Toys, I’m not bored, I get into the story with them, I’m even moved, unlike other children’s books that don’t make me feel hot or cold”, confides Elisabeth, mother of three children between 3 and 8 years. Arouse emotions, keep the reader in suspense, bring together, for the time of a story, the adult and the child in the same universe, hooked in the same breath to the destiny of a young hero – child, animal or doll what does it matter – isn’t that the incredible magic trick operated by a quality children’s album? A magic trick that is not really one, because it is mainly due to the intuition of a publisher and the investment of its authors. The Mame editions have managed to bring the two together in a collection of children’s books that are both contemporary and classic.
If Mame is particularly recognized for its religious publications (liturgical books, catechism manuals, books of awakening to the faith of Maite Rochethe comics of Loupiothe novels of Sophie de Mullenheim, books on spirituality, etc.), it now has the ambition to expand its collections and its audience by relaunching the publication of “secular” books. “A tradition inscribed in the DNA of the house since 1850, renowned in particular for its quality books distributed on the occasion of award ceremonies to schoolchildren, but which has been abandoned at Mame for decades”, explains Sophie Cluzel, director editorial.
Indeed, Alfred Mame had the objective, more than 170 years ago, of “creating a gigantic book factory that would be self-sufficient”. If Mame has been providing illustrated Bibles to children for years, literature books were missing. With the new collection, the offer is expanding with new quality albums such as The beautiful stories of Grandmotherand its pendant The Wonderful Stories of Grandfather, The delicate elephant and the big-hearted crocodile, The Wonderful Christmas of Toysbut also with the reissue of great classics such as Little Lord Fauntleroy, The jungle Bookand, to be published, Sophie’s misfortune or Around the world in 80 days. “The gigantic book factory”, dear to the Touraine founder, is taking shape again, to the delight of the children… and their parents.
The intuition of a publisher: make children grow up (but not too much)
In the age of game consoles and social networks, giving children a taste for reading is a real gamble. A bet assumed by the publisher and which does not go without a certain quality requirement: “Mame is committed to offering beautiful books, charmingly illustrated, with the full texts when it comes to the classics, translated by our care if necessary, or else, when it is a novelty, with a neat literary style. This is also the case for our novels for 8-12 year olds,” explains Sophie Cluzel. A way, for the editorial director, to make children grow up, to raise them, and to esteem them.
The classics make it possible to keep this taste of childhood.
“We want our albums to transmit the beautiful and the good, but also that they convey a certain spirit of childhood. Children grow faster and faster, of course, but the old texts still have their say! », assures Sophie Cluzel. Indeed, aren’t Sophie’s nonsense universal and timeless? Just like the relationship that is woven little by little between the little Lord Fauntleroy and his grandfather the Count of Dorincourt? “The classics allow you to keep this taste of childhood, and it’s a real gift to give to a child”, underlines the editorial director.
Reassured and satisfied parents
“Ideally, I would like to be able to read the books they have in their hands before my children. To discuss them, to see if they convey values similar to ours. But concretely, I don’t have time. So offering them books from Mame editions is like a guarantee. Having leafed through them, or listened to them – many are supplied with CDs – I know that they are a guarantee of quality, both on the literary level and on the moral level”, testifies Claire, mother of five children. A saving of time therefore, but above all the assurance of giving his children well-written stories that are consistent with the values of the Gospel.
Rare are the novelties, in children’s literature, which take such care of the literary style, perhaps believing that the children would not understand anything about it. But just read this excerpt from Wonderful Christmas Toys to taste all its richness: “At our feet stretched Paris as far as the eye could see. The roofs went down and up, held back in their frantic slides by a multitude of skylights and chimneys which poke their noses into the icy night air”. A rich and poetic text, which allows the child to create his own imagination.
Stories that, although not explicitly about God, are consistent with Gospel values. Thereby The delicate elephant and the big-hearted crocodile : seven little animal tales that teach trust, forgiveness, generosity… all these virtues that make life beautiful. As for charity, it clearly shines through in The Wonderful Christmas of Toys through the generous gesture of little Madeleine who offers her doll to poor Zélie.
These stories also work because their authors believe in them. They – they are mostly women – write with their hearts, with their souls, with their very guts. Karine Marie Amiot, mother of nine children aged 5 to 22, has been a children’s author for twenty years. She writes mainly for Mame, but also for the Milan, Lito and Hachette editions. “It’s a job that takes shape in my everyday life. I write what I see, what I live with my children. For me, the role of children’s books is to transmit beautiful values and to put poetry in our lives, sparks in everyday life, ”she confides.
All children in the world love to be told stories!
For them, writing and then reading a story is a gift offered to a child. “It’s always a good time to listen to a story. Yes ! A story is like a gift that makes you laugh, grow, dream,” writes Karine-Marie Amiot in the foreword to Grandmother’s beautiful stories, a bestseller in the children’s edition by Mame, translated into around ten countries. It is even a universal gift: “All the children in the world like to be told stories! “, adds Benedicte Delelisa passionate author who lends her pen and her voice to numerous children’s albums and in particular the “Graines de saints” collection.
For her, in addition to the possibility of simply testifying to her faith, in a discreet way when it comes to secular books, inventing a story means taking a child by the hand and bringing it into a beautiful universe. If his stories of saints reveal the beauty of holiness, his Wonderful Christmas Toys makes the child discover, believing it or not, the beauty of the mystery of Christmas, the beauty of friendship, the beauty of generosity… Thus children’s books offer the reader what “the film or the cartoon will never give “, she analyzes: “Vocabulary, the invitation to create his own imagination, the discovery of a whole range of emotions… So many tools that will allow him to know himself, to qualify his own feelings and to describe the world “.
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