Sevim Ak

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Sevim Ak

She was born in Samsun in 1958. She studied chemistry engineering and biochemistry.

Her first children’s book, Uçurtmam Bulut Şimdi (1997) received the short story award at the Akademi Publishing House's competition. Her short stories were published in children’s magazines such as Kırmızı Fare, Doğan Kardeş, Bando, Milliyet Kardeş, Başak Çocuk, Vakıf Çocuk and Kırmızı Bilye. She wrote stories and scripts for children’s shows, “Portakal” and “Zıpzıldır” on TRT. Her short story, “Benim Adım Titi” was translated into Albanian and was included in Balkan Writers Anthology in 1999. Her children’s play Düşlere Sobe was put on stage by Istanbul City Theatre. Her thirteen short stories on the fears of children inspired the “Marmara Earthquake Psychosocial Rehabilitation Project,” which was led by the Psychological Health Centre of Tel Aviv and Marmara University Foundation, after the earthquake of 17 August 1999. The results of her creative writing and reading workshops for children in the eastern and southeastern regions of Turkey were published in the journal Lignes D’ecritures in France. Her illustrated children’s book, Kırık Şemsiye was chosen the best illustrated children’s book by the Foundation of Children and Young Adult Publications, in 2006.

Uçurtmam Bulut Şimdi, which was published in Germany in 2008, consists of stories about a boy whose kite is lost in the sky, a child who is afraid of earthquakes or a little girl who is after the mystery of rain. After her first short stories, she discovered the frequent existence of children in her work and decided to focus on writing for and about children. She simplified the language of these first short stories and adapted them for young readers. Another important writer of children’s literature, Gülten Dayıoğlu referred to Sevim Ak’s literature as must-read for children.

Ak uses a simplified language for children and avoids using a didactic style. She also avoids including overt morality in her stories. She does not make good-bad judgments in her works and therefore does not lead children to certain judgments. She is not prescriptive as to how children should read her stories.

In her thesis titled “Çocuk Edebiyatında İletiler ve İletilerin Aktarım Biçimi: Sevim Ak Örneği”, Özlem Arpacı suggests that the most frequent theme of her works is love. She also highlights that in Ak’s stories, children do not spend much time with their parents. She often creates narratives of child protagonists with working parents and without siblings. While grandparents are important figures in her child protagonists’ lives, there are other friendly figures such as the neighbors, the neighborhood's greengrocers, guards or postmen. Animals and objects are other friendly figures in these children’s lives. By using a plain language and avoiding a didactic style Sevim Ak aims to prepare children for life. Her works have a significant place in children's literature in Turkey.

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