The problem of language teaching materials in Armenian Diaspora is not a new one, and many different steps are taken to give opportunities to Armenian kids all around the world to learn to read and write in Armenian. This time we are bringing to you the works of Hrachouhi Zakaryan, an amazing illustrator from LA, who creates children’s books to teach the Armenian language. “Lavash: A Counting Book” in Armenian and in English was released recently and now is available to buy on Etsy and Amazon.com. Hrachouhi is a Mom of a daughter and she came up with this idea witnessing the need in Armenian Diaspora. Being a strong advocate of preserving Armenian language and culture in Armenian Diaspora, we have talked to Hrachouhi.
Playland Armenia: Tell us a little bit about you, what is your background, and how you happened to start a children’s books?
Hrachouhi Zakaryan: I was born in Armenia and grew up in Los Angeles. I graduated from the California State University of Long Beach with a bachelors of fine arts in Illustration. I have always dreamt about creating children’s books since they were the reason I began to love art as a child. Because of my passion for preserving Armenian culture I have decided to self publish a line of books that will serve this purpose.
Playland Armenia: Describe the books and your approach to teach Armenian values through tales and stories.
Hrachouhi Zakaryan: This book along with future ones are intended to teach children basic concepts such as numbers, colors, etc. using imagery that is inspired by Armenia and its culture/history. I am incorporating both Armenian and English text to help children growing up in English speaking environments to learn both. Growing up in the United States I feel it is absolutely necessary to help our future generations to learn as much as possible about our homeland and language. I hope these books will serve that purpose, at least for my daughter, until my husband and I are able to create a home for us in Armenia. We pray that this will become a reality soon but until then we will do everything possible to not lose our identity. There is a great need during this time to preserve our culture in our children outside of Armenia.
Playland Armenia: What about the feedback from users, what do they like and dislike about the books?
Hrachouhi Zakaryan: Everyone who has seen the book thus far has expressed that they enjoyed the idea, artwork and presentation. Since the book has only recently been published I haven’t had the chance to interact with those who have purchased it but I hope it will serve its intended purpose to anyone who buys it.
Honestly, I created this book for my daughter Arevik after seeing that there was a need for something like this, just as I created the Armenian alphabet blocks which I also sell in my etsy shop. I create beautiful things that I feel I need in my own life and present it to the world in hopes that my “hayrenakicner” will find value in it also.