Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Little Prince returns to Afghanistan

What a moving story.

Spain enlists 'Little Prince' for charm offensive in Afghanistan

Fuencisla Gozalo organised the plan after hearing that Dari-language copies were destroyed in the US-led invasion

Fuencisla Gozalo organised the plan after hearing that Dari-language copies were destroyed in the US-led invasion

Spanish soldiers in Afghanistan have recently carried out an unusual mission: to distribute 5,000 copies of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince, translated into Dari, to Afghan children in the province of Badghis.

The story about the young master of asteroid B-612 and his vain-yet-beloved rose might sound like an odd weapon in the UN-led war against terror. And certainly neither baobab trees, which threaten the rose, or The Geographer, too busy making maps to leave his desk, figure in the Spanish army's tactics manuals. But a passionate book collector, Fuencisla Gozalo, managed to convince the defence ministry to add this mission to the army's plans.

The idea was hatched when Ms Gozalo, who possesses copies of The Little Prince in 200 languages, heard a sad story about an Afghan man, Ghulam Sakhi Ghairat, who translated the book to Dari, one of Afghanistan's two official languages, in 1977.

Nobody in Afghanistan wanted to buy his version of the asteroid voyager, and so the translator, now director of the Kabul School of Diplomacy, was forced to pack his copies of the novella into crates and store them in his home. His home was later bombed in the US-led invasion. The translator survived because he was in New York at the time, but the Dari copies of the story about the prince who meets a downed pilot in the desert and asks him to draw a sheep, were destroyed.

Ms Gozalo was so moved by the loss she asked friends for donations to print Mr Sakhi Gahairat's translation herself. Thirty friends contributed a total of €2,500 (£2,100) enough to print 5,000 Dari copies of Saint-Exupery's work.

"On the day of my birthday, I asked my friends not to get me a present but to help me finance the printing of a Dari edition of The Little Prince to give to Afghan women and children," she told the Spanish daily El País.

Her next challenge: how to get the copies into the right hands? The Spanish army seemed like the safest messenger for the precious cargo. She wrote a letter to the Defence Minister, Carmen Chacon. "Badghis is an extremely needy province, and if it is not a danger for our soldiers I believe it would be good if they could deliver the books to schools and libraries," the letter said, according to El País. "No child had ever been able to read The Little Prince," she said. "Now they can. They can learn the values that the book teaches: honesty, loyalty, friendship." (via)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Do you see The Little Prince when you look at your walls?

From artist Alix Soubiran, The Little Prince collection of wallpapers.

"Soubiran is an artist and storyteller, who credits her grandfather, a celebrated French author and recipient of the Theophraste Renaudot literary prize in 1943 for her passion for storytelling and fascination with stunning wall decor. Her book-filled grandfather's house in the 16th arrondissement in Paris inspired her fanciful designs. She has created a line of paper accessories, 19th century style butterflies meant to be positioned and stuck to the walls according to your fancy, as well as wallpapers that are manufactured and produced in the Los Angeles area.

Her latest designs use the beloved tale of "The Little Prince" as inspiration. Taking fanciful look at the fable, the line features deep sea creatures, imaginary birds and unicorns in space. The paper is designed for children's rooms but is more whimsical and classical than cute. Sea Ballet, shown above, was inspired by prehistoric-looking sea creatures and has a little of the feel of a botanical illustration." (via)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Barbapapa wants to hold your stuff, in style

Adults can't wear the Barbapapa dresses I featured recently, but these great Barbapapa Messenger Bags and Totes, definitely. Cute, Cute, Cute.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Time Out Chicago Kids gives Wundertime some love

We love Time Out Chicago Kids for honoring our Little Prince Ball as one of their 3 French Treasures for their holiday shopping issue.

Here's what they had to say:

"3. Have a Ball
A whimsical Little Prince Soft Ball, stitched and illustrated with Le Prince's favorite friends, is perfect for your own petit pitcher to toss around - and then hand down to his younger freres." (via)

Oh, and that's right. Did we mention that Wundertime was also included in their 125 perfect presents for kids? We don't like to brag but...

Thanks for the love!