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THE CULT CHILDREN’S BOOK BY OLIVERA NIKOLOVA CELEBRATES ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY

“Zoki Poki” became a middle-aged man and there is still no one to replace him

 

The English have Oliver Twist, the Americans - Tom Sawyer, we have Zoki Poki. The book of Olivera Nikolova is a classic in the Macedonian literature and a childhood reference for all children in Macedonia. It is exactly this year (2013) that it celebrates half a century since it has been published. Neither then nor today is there a child which has not read the book about the naughty Zoki, whose friend Lydia calls him Poki.

According to Vesna Mojsova - Chepishevska, professor of World and Macedonian children’s literarute at the Faculty of Philology “Blazhe Koneski” in Skopje, “Zoki Poki” even after 50 years is still not old, is still living and interesting.

- Even though the book is written 50 years ago, Zoki Poki is still actual and the children of today can identify themselves with his casuistries.

Potential for an international brand

Recently, prof. Mojsova Chepishevska led a group of students and graduates in Macedonian studies in the frames of the International Seminar for Macedonian Language and Literature in Ohrid, which studied this particular book on the occassion of the 50th anniversary of its publication. This was a very nice opportunity to experience the educational aspect of the text with foreign students, something which can be very entertaining for other cultural environments.

- The personality of Zoki Poki was very interesing to them. We agreed that they translate some of the stories in their own languages which we will publish later in our publications of the seminar - explains Mojsova-Chepishevska.

This year she was also member of the board revisioning the obligatory lists of books for elementary school in the Office for Development of Education in the Ministry of Education. The conclusion of all the research done, was that Zoki Poki is among the three books most enjoyable for children when they start reading by themselves.

Mojsova-Chepishevska says that after 50 years there still hasn’t appeared another Zoki Poki.

- Nowdays there probably should be a child more in the spirit of the contemporary lifestyle, a child who replaces street games with games in front of the computer. But, such a character still hasn’t appeared. In Zoki Poki we probably recognize the child we maybe long for, because it seems not to exist any longer. It is a child that lives with his grandparents, has a nextdoor neighbor, a pet, things which not all children have nowadays. But his cleverness is very dear to the children and that’s why he is so popular....

....The book of Olivera Nikolova is published by “Detska radost”.

There they say they will not publish a separate issue of the book for its 50th anniversary, but instead - a colected works by the author which will also include “Zoki Poki”.

- “Zoki Poki” is one of the most favorite and sold out books for the children, which can be seen by its circulation. Usually we publish children’s books in a circulation od 5000 copies. Only in the past ten years, we have certainly reissued it three-four times, and it is sold out several times - says Irina Stavreva, editor in “Detska radost”.

Marina Lazarevska

 

Daily newspaper DNEVNIK,

July 1, 2013