Fear in children is often repressed due to miscommunication, insecurities and peer pressure as they don’t want to appear weak, afraid or silly in the eyes of their parents and peers. Another issue concerning miscommunication is the constant slow disappearance of culture and tradition in the younger generations in Bulgaria. There are many holidays that celebrate the culture, however the origins, history and purpose are often unknown by young children.
Giving the above how might I celebrate and communicate the culture and folklore of Bulgaria whilst encouraging children to talk openly about their fears?
A picture book that tells the story of a young girl called Viktoriя (Виктория in Bulgarian) that experiences a fear of a monster that she continuously denies seeing and tries to repress. Her overwhelming feeling grows as her friends and parents refuse the existing of monsters. The culmination in the book is when Viki is going back home from school and she is petrified by her first 'face-to-face' meeting with the monster, she can no longer deny its existence. Later in the book, she sees a photo of her grandfather in a costume that resembles the monster she saw. It is revealed that the monster is a part of the Bulgarian tradition of kukeri. Kukeri (kuker - singular) are people dressed in monster costumes that scare away evil spirits and protect the community. The book ends with little Viki in her own kuker costume dancing the traditional dance or horo (a type of circle dance) celebrating the victory over her fears. The picture book aims to show the importance and awareness of folklore and its connection overcoming one's fears.