On the occasion of International Mother Language Day, Sose Khdeshian-Berberian visited the students of Siamanto Academy.
Mrs. Khdeshian-Berberian was born in Beirut. She is a pharmacist by profession, but when she starts a family and comes to America, she notices that the children here have trouble speaking in Armenian because they have no place to use the language.
Therefore, despite the fact that writing children’s books is not her field, she realizes that if she doesn’t work hard, there won’t exist the opportunity for their children to learn Armenian. This was simply the reason of and inspiration for the birth of Mrs. Khdeshian-Berberian’s four children’s books. Below we describe the story behind each of her books.
“Մամեծին տաղերը” (“Grandma’s Songs”)
She wrote the songs taught by her grandmother, and she tells her grandmother to sing the forgotten ones, which she recorded. One day she thought about drawing a colorful picture next to each song, and she sent them as a gift to her friends. Shortly after, with the encouragement of her same friends, they planned on printing the collection together.
“Գաթային գաղտնիքը” (“The Secret of Katat”), the book about her family’s story
Every Easter, her grandmother would make kata, and her family would gather with her. Mrs. Sose often told this story to her two girls: Narine and Gasya. But, one day, she asked if they remembered what her grandparents did on Easter. Her girls said, “Mom, you have not told this to us.” This is when the author realized that stories are preserved not only by telling them, so “Գաթային գաղտնիքը” (“The Secret of Kata”) was born and thus stopped being a secret, but instead became the story of her grandmother’s preparation of kata. To make it easy to read, she wrote in short sentences. Now, whenever she asks the same question to her daughters, they already know the story of kata.
“Իմ անունս Նայիրի է” (“My Name Is Nayiri”)
One day, Narine, daughter of our guest, asked her mother: “Mom, are we going to celebrate an Armenian holiday today?”, to which the response was, “There is no Armenian holiday today.” Narine’s question was actually about Thanksgiving. It was at this point that the author realized that there was a confusion of Armenian and American holidays in her daughter’s mind. For this reason, she wrote the book, “Իմ անունս Նայիրի է” (“My Name Is Nayiri”). Nayiri is an Armenian girl who lives in New York and celebrates one Armenian and one American holiday per month. In the book, the occasions and meanings of the holidays are presented in a simple way.
“Ճիճիլի-պիճիլի թագուհին” (“Queen Jeejeelee-beejeelee”)
The author’s fourth book is one of the many stories that her grandmother used to tell back in the day. Most of us did not understand the value of the stories our grandmothers told us at the time and it was only years later that we came to appreciate them.
In the end, the message Mrs. Sose Khdeshian-Berberian conveyed to the students was that we should spend time listening to the stories of our elders and try to preserve them.
She has set an example by publishing books that have become a legacy for the next generations.
(This article was written in Armenian by Nareg Kassardjian and translated into English by Alex Varjabedian, both 3rd year students at Siamanto Academy).