See the world through open eyes with ‘Fabers Schatz’ by Cornelia Funke:
What inspired you to write this children's story?
You can never fully explain it, but I’ll give it a go. On the one hand, the name of the publishing house ALADIN inspired me to write a story featuring the magic of the Orient. On the other hand, ALADIN is based in Hamburg, my old home town, with which I still feel a strong affiliation. And lastly, we’re confronted with a host of racist and nationalist views nowadays, in a world that is, at the same time, becoming increasingly international. I’ve been living in the USA for a long time, a country that is defined by immigration – even if the current president would prefer not to acknowledge it – and I have readers across the globe. It would be impossible for me to imagine a world without diversity, and I wouldn’t want to. Of course, I didn’t want to write a story that was just a sermon or trying to sell a particular message – I find that quite disrespectful to readers – but obviously I want my stories to express what’s important to me. That’s how the ALADIN story unintentionally became a story about refugees – people for whom there is no more painful word than ‘home’.
Shaima and Faber become friends and learn about each other’s culture and language. How important is interculturality in children’s education, in your view?
I think that nowadays there are two key educational goals: to teach children to be open to everything that is ‘foreign’ and show them how much cultural diversity enriches us. Cultural diversity is a true treasure in this world. For the same reason, we need to combat the alienation of our children from everything that is ‘non-human’ on this planet. Experiences with nature and with other cultures can help remind us that everything on this planet interacts, and everything is precious.
What’s the main message you want to get across to both adults and children in Fabers Schatz?
Oh, I don’t like ‘messages’, and definitely not ‘main messages’! I hope that the reader will see the things in the story that make me happy: friendship, adventure, the wider world, love for human beings and everything that lives on this planet.
Can you tell us what Faber’s next adventure will be?
Next time, Faber will be going to visit his grandfather in America. More precisely, in Malibu – which is where I’m living now.
The second book called Fabers Reise will be released in September 2017.
by Cornelia Funke
Illustrations: Susanne Göhlich
Ages: 36 months to 6 years
When Faber’s grandfather moves to America, Faber inherits his old carpet. It’s supposed to be able to fly, and all Faber has to do is read what’s written on the carpet. But all the young German from Hamburg can see is a unknown pattern. Maybe his friends can help him decipher the mysterious symbols? On his search for answers, Faber meets Shaima, a girl from Damascus. She looks at the carpet and reads words Faber can’t understand – but the carpet can, and it starts to fly. Together, they discover the carpet’s magic, and discover a lot about each other at the same time. An interesting story promoting an open-minded world view.