In Qazaq literature there is an author whose children's stories are read and reread by several generations of adults and children. The book, which made the name of Berdibek Sokpakbaev popular is called 'My name is Kozha'.
'What was experienced as a child would never be forgotten. Impressions never go away, never cool down. They keep warm like a heat under ash. Just blow the cinder and you see a flare-up!' - used to say Berdibek Sokpakbaev.
The writer's childhood was not easy. The boy grew up in a poor family. At the age of eight he lost his mother. His mother's death became a chronic source of pain for the rest of his life.
The first years of his life Berdibek Sokpakbaev described in details in a book 'Balalyq shaqqa sayahat' ('A Journey to Childhood'), which was published in 1960. But, nevertheless writer's childhood memories reflected in all the books of the author. Despite all trials in his life, little Berdibek was noted for his curiosity and abilities.
Love for knowledge and reading was imparted to the boy by his elder brother Satylgan, who later died in the Second World War.
The hero of the story 'My name is Kozha' is a dreamer and a naughty boy. He falls into the most improbable situations, but he overcomes them successfully thanks not only to his cleverness, but also to a kind, compassionate heart, loyalty to friendship. These features of the main charachter evoke readers' sympathy towards him.
Due to the fact that the main character of the book behaves disobediently, the writer could not find a publishing house for a long time, which would agree to publish it. A big reason for this was that at that time it was believed that such heroes can only be negative, and the children should be educated on the basis of exceptionally positive characters. Berdibek Sokpakbaev clearly proved that the hero of the book must have the right to make mistakes, he must go through trials, and only in this case he is able to become a human personality.
Berdibek Sokpakbaev's heroes, particularly Kozha, are autobiographical. But the works of a talented Qazaq writer are devoid of edification, which was peculiar for Soviet children's literature. There is no such thing as 'preaching' in his works.
Berdibek Sokpakbaev's heroes are alive, rebellious and amazing as magical world of childhood. Growing up, we forget a sense of wondrous, joyful discovery about the Universe, and only a few lucky people know how to preserve in their hearts children's impressionability and spontaneity.
Berdibek Sokpakbaev was such a talented child. He said that when he was a child, he was one of those few fidgets, who usually never went to class until the last bell rang. It was impossible for him to sit for a long time somewhere outside the lessons.
The remarkable book 'My name is Kozha' was published by the publishing house 'Children's Literature' in 1957 and became widely read and popular among readers very quickly.
The heroes of Sokpakbaev's novel grow up in difficult post-war times. But how nuch light and joy, spontaniety are there in their characters?! Kozha takes hard his mother's emotional pain. He grows up without father, at the same time he has conflicts both with schoolmates, and with teachers. He is a creative being, poet. But he never gives up and strongly believes in a bright future.
The main topic of the story is the theme of growing up. Before our eyes, a mischief Kozha becomes different, he honestly tries to change for the better, for first time in his life he realizes what responsibility falls on his shoulders. It is a responsibility for his mother and grandmother, a responsibility for himself and his future.
Perhaps the events taking place in the life of Kozha can not be called special and his adventures are devoid of any heroism. The fate of Kozha is the fate of thousands and thousands of boys and girls of his age, who today became an older generation. But behind the realities of the old times one can find the same experiences and thoughts that are typical for today's Qazaqstani and worldwide teenagers.
Even being alive Berdibek Sokpakbaev became a classic of Qazaq literature. His books were published in large editions, they were readily read in libraries. The writer also created plays and screenplays. On the basis of his novels 'My name is Kozha' and 'A Journey to Childhood' were produced feature films. The film 'My name is Kozha' was released in 1963. In 1967, it was awarded a prize at the International Film Festival for Children and Youth in Cannes. This film has become one of the most beloved films in the country.
Masterfully written story 'My name is Kozha', based on the life and realities of the people's life of that era, is full of light sadness and good humor. This is a unique book that awakens in readers their best feelings.
Children’s books may have an exceptionally driving effect on us, they shape and give an insight on a lot of things surrounding us, thanks to them we get to know what is bad and what is good, we start to understand our inner world and outside world. Sometimes an effect that easily achieved by children's book can not be achieved by adult books. Children's books are the first pieces of art that we ever come across.
The book 'My name is Kozha' was published in English in 2015 within the framework of the project 'We are Qazaq people', realized by the Qazaq Pen Club to introduce for wide auditorium of readers Qazaq writers' works.
The book is translated into English by the famous American translator Catherine Fitzpatrick, and published in the publishing house 'Metropolitan Classics' (New York, USA).
About the Author
Berdibek Sokpakbaev was born in 1924 in one of the mountain villages of Narynkol district of Alma-Ata region. At the same place he graduated from secondary school.
Then he joined the army. After being in the army he entered Abai Qazaq Pedagogical Institute in Almaty and later on he graduated from the Higher Literary Courses in Moscow.
Berdibek Sokpakbaev was engaged in journalism for a few years, he worked in the editorial offices of such newspapers and magazines as 'Qazaq adebieti', 'Baldyrgan' and also he worked at the film studio.
At the same time he worked as a teacher for several years in the schools of his native region. He was always worried about the problems of children's upbringing.
That's why he paid special attention to writing books for children and Youth.
He acted as a consultant on Children's literature in the Writers' Union of Qazaqstan.
Berdibek Sokpakbaev's writing path began from a collection of poems. It was published in 1950 and immediately gain popularity among readers. The next book of the writer - the story 'Champion' was published in 1951.
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