Ksenia Dragunskaya: ''It is a myth that nowadays kids don’t read''

Ksenia Dragunskaya: ''It is a myth that nowadays kids don’t read'' Photo: by photo courtesy of Ksenia Dragunskaya

Ksenia Dragunskaya is a famous writer, author of stories for kids, scriptwriter, dramaturg and Viktor Dragunsky's daughter who wrote The Adventures of Dennis. In her interview to Realnoe Vremya, the writer tells about the benefit of having no interlocutor, kids who don't read and driving nature of inspiration.

Mrs Dragunskaya, what do you think about characters of modern cartoons and books for kids, all these Kikoriki and other creatures?

I even don't know who they are.

How does children's literature mould children's outlook today?

Children's outlook is formed, first of all, with the help of clashes with reality. Social inequality, disrespect for honest workers, impunity of the haves' power – it is what influences the outlook, not books. We live in the 21 st century.

How should prohibited topics be told in children's books?

I noticed that kids appreciate when people talk about serious things or reality to them, in general, when they don't treat them like a kid as if they were not people. The way you tell is important. Yes, love is not a piece of cake. But anyway there are more good people than bad. It is possible to find a way out of the most difficult situation with smart and decent adults. My plays and stories for 'kids and teenagers' are about it.

Books about such characters as Kalle, who wears a rose polka-dot dress, two male giraffes who fostered a small crocodile and so on started to appear in Europe. What do you think about such literature for kids?

If it is written in a funny way, with kindness, why we can't give kids to understand that love can be expressed in different ways. And we should treat it without dislike. In general, same-sex love is anyway better than hatred of different genders.

A famous complaint is that nowadays kids read very little and pay more attention to gadgets.

Parents can influence by their personal example. If a family got used to reading and talking about what they read, kids will read. It is a myth that nowadays kids don't read. Not everybody but some people read in the past. I think now the situation in percentages is the same.

''Social inequality, disrespect for honest workers, impunity of the haves' power – it is what influences the outlook, not books. We live in the 21 st century.'' Photo: adme.ru

What about your kids?

My son grew up and reads analytical, philosophic and political literature with interest. What about Pushkin? Lermontov? Leo Tolstoy? Each of them lost parents or did not like them as a kid, suffered from loneliness, realised their difference at an early age. Nabokov became a great writer having gone through all the terror of separation from his homeland, poorness, loss of his father and mother. Loneliness and unhappiness make a person. As a teenager, a person starts to express his feelings on paper because he has nobody to talk with. If people had talked to me more, I would have never become a writer.

Could you tell why teaching literature at school in our country generates hatred for literature?

Everything depends on teachers. If teaching is boring, of course, kids will hate Tolstoy and Chekhov and even Pushkin. In other words, an important part for national self-identification will disappear.

What positive facts can be seen today on TV and in cinema about schoolchildren and for schoolchildren?

Do we have modern cinema for kids and teenagers? In my opinion, it was deliberately destroyed.

''Loneliness and unhappiness make a person. As a teenager, a person starts to express his feelings on paper because he has nobody to talk with. If people had talked to me more, I would have never become a writer.'' Photo: ru-bykov.livejournal.com

You told in one of your interviews about your attitude to life as 'destructive excitement'. How can you explain your outlook?

But we all will die one day. This is why we need to live and be glad, enjoy every moment, be glad and gladden others but remember we will inevitably die.

What have you already written about the countryside and backwoods?

Feeling Beardy, Flood, many stories are about the countryside. The countryside is interesting for me because it is interesting for few people.

How do you work today? What is your life purpose? And what do you aspire to?

I make up (or, to be more precisely I think over) at the wheel, I drove on roads and rough tracks far from Moscow to my favourite music without purpose and obstacles. And I write at home, at table, it goes without saying, I become very-very angry when I am bothered. I personally don't know the life purpose. People need support, approval. This approval is expected form All-Mighty and Merciful God, from relatives, writers and the theatre.

By Natalia Fyodorova