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Keep Children's Soul into a Book

Keep Children's Soul into a Book


Kim So-Yeon
The Post Reporter
mangtosy@dongguk.edu

  Book art meets children.
  There are book artists who design book covers to make them look beautiful.  Did you know that there also are 'book art instructors'?
  The Post had an interview with Kwak Kyea-Hyun, who is the first book art instructor at Contents Institute. When I met her in her office, she was teaching trainees about book art.  There were many examples of book art displayed in her office, including magnificent cubic designs and works of art done by children.  The contents of books created by children were so sophisticated that I thought they were the works done by adults.  This explains the slogan of Contents Institute: Book art is the pure soul of children...........................................................................................Ed.

  Who is a book art instructor?
  As book art was introduced to Korea in 2004 and spread widely among the public, the book art market flourished at once.  Many people began buying diaries, notebooks and other books that embodied book art. 
  Mrs. Kwak is the first book-art instructor at Contents Institute.  Her job is to educate children on book art. 
  Why is a book-art instructor needed? 
  "The current 7th curriculum has a goal of enhancing creativity and integrated education.  But there are many teachers who say that each subject is separated from other subjects.  Even if many teachers want to teach integrated education, they don't know how, " said Mrs. Kwak.
  That's why many teachers look to a book-art instructor for guidance  She teaches book art that combines art with reading to elementary school teachers, kindergarten teachers, reading tutors and so on.  "First of all, book art for children is not the kind of traditional education.  As creative education becomes more important, educators look to book art as a solution to overcoming the current rigid and conservative education system.  This is the best way to encourage children to use their imagination," stressed Mrs. Kwak.
  Children who participated in the book-art activities got interested in them.  "Before starting a class, I thought that book art was just another school class subject.  But I was surprised to find that I could use books freely, so that it was fun to learn more through book art," said a child with a grin.
  Book art has more educational values than a simple reading activity.  In spite of this, most people don't consider it as part of education.  "It makes children aware of their inner humanity, which is an important virtue in modern society.  That's the reason why we must regard book art as important as the other in-class curriculum classes."
  How did the job of book-art instructor come into being?
  "Two years ago I attended a program that regarded children as part of the culturally important activities, and I planed to display this idea thorough environmental art.  For this reason I needed a good knowledge of the environment to prepare for the exhibition.  So I started to look over textbooks because I though they would make it easy to understand the environment," she said.  At that moment she realized that art has a role in all kinds of textbooks. This led her to develope a cubic book, which encouraged children to develop creativity and space perception.  She also often found art useful in her daily life.  For instance, after having a pizza with children, she came up with the idea of making three dimensional globes with pizza boxes instead of throwing them away.  She explained the characteristics of each country in the world, and then children made sketches, folded them and put them into the box.  "Through this  activity, learning was a delightful experience, not a boring one," 
  What ability is required to be a book-art instructor?  One needs leadership and the spirit of an educator.  "A book-art director needs to be both an educator and an artist.  The essence of book art is to express the innocence of children within the book, especially on the design of a book cover.  Teachers should respect children thinking about a book and not see them as passive participants."  This is one of the most important duties that a book-art instructor should take. 
  Mrs. Kwak held a book-art display entitled Play with Making Your Book, between September and November in 2004.  Through this display Mrs. Kwak let people know that book art belonged to the education field as well as to the field of art. 
  She continued, "I feel happy when children marvel at each other's work.  I find that this is a communication process between children.  Parents become more interested in their children's talents.  On the other hand, I get upset when people tend to focus only on a book-cover design at an exhibition.  Since children demonstrate their creativity and originality in the books they work on, we pay special attention to the contents of a book rather than its overall design.  Cherished achievements are not an instrument just for display," Mrs. Kwak added.
  Mrs. Kwak talked about the recognition she got as a book-art instructor and its future prospects.  "As book art cultivates more educators, its influence will spread.  This job is open to everyone who should aims at this field. Since it is a new field, there are many opportunities"  She expressed her opinions about the future of book art with a smile.
  "Book art is an experience."

Kim So-Yeon  mangtosy@dongguk.edu

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