Author Camila Comitre explains how the new personalized books encourage learning about shapes, colors, letters, and numbers.
Reading is a way of stimulating children’s development from an early age – studies show that it is important to read to your baby even before they are born!
To promote learning in early childhood, Playstories launched four new personalized books that encourage small readers to get in touch with basic concepts present in their daily lives: colors, geometric shapes, and numbers. In said books, children have fun while learning from an amazing universe created by author Camila Comitre, a specialist in child socioemotional development.
In the book The Neighborhood of Colors, children learn the primary colors when exploring the fantastic places in which they live. In The World of Numbers, readers are encouraged to count to 5 while interacting with the characters that represent each number. Last but not least, in The City of Shapes, kids can visit all the exotic houses: the square house, the triangle house, and the circle house.
Read more about the importance of learning about these topics during childhood and how books can help children. See the interview with the author of the books:
Playstories: The personalized books you wrote are about some of the first things a child learns: colors, shapes, and numbers. How important are these themes for children’s development?
Camila Comitre: Learning about these themes are the basis for a child’s cognitive development, for their first contact with math, language, textures, and aesthetic sense. In early childhood, we call the experiences that children need to have an integral development as an important experience.
The use of literature in a playful and didactic way is also fundamental to stimulate little ones through the symbolic axis, which is related to fantasy and abstractions. This universe brings countless resources that help in the education, development, and behavior of children.
Playstories: How was the experience of writing this collection for Playstories? What do you need to be aware of when creating a personalized story?
Camila: The creation of the collection with Playstories was positive, dynamic, and a very special experience. As soon as Ju Gaspari presented the proposal, we started to have a thousand different ideas, giving voice to our inner children in the first process of doing something we would have liked to have read as children. We then moved to the research phase in national and international children’s literature references regarding the aesthetic sense and language, so that the collection had something very innovative and playful that was magical and informative for the little ones.
Thinking about books where the protagonist is the reader themselves is a delightful challenge when we put different personality traits in a character that are inherent in all children, such as curiosity, the desire to explore, live adventures, and have fun. Bringing the protagonist into this universe where they are part of the story while acquiring knowledge is the most incredible thing in the First Lessons Collection.
Playstories: Each story takes place in a different world, which reinforces the child’s contact with the theme. How did the idea for each world come about?
Camila: We wanted a collection where each title had its independent narrative but with contextual connections with the other themes, such as rhythm and similar languages, valuing the different learning objects. The peculiarity occurs in the protagonist’s contact and experience with the characters that favor the natural assimilation of concepts.
In The Neighborhood of Colors, we didn’t want the obvious yellow sun and blue sky, so we opted for the characters and environments to be the same color, showing differences and the importance of each of the colors in a message about respect for differences.
In The City of Shapes, it was fun to create games where the characters experience situations where they don’t fit or when the protagonist has the experience of exploring the movements and using the space of that geometric shape, facilitating the construction of this knowledge.
In The World of Numbers, the rhythm of the text stimulates and involves the protagonist in a system of representation of quantities and the possibility of learning to count objects and compare quantities of groups, in addition to mental calculations with the illustrations.
The entire collection makes the first contact with the universe of colors, shapes, and numbers an experience of joy and adventure.
Playstories: What are the roles of the “secondary” characters in childhood learning?
Camila: The characters that interact with the protagonist are the learning objects themselves: colors, shapes, and numbers. The stories greatly favor the first contact with fun, curiosity, and pleasure with these themes, paving the way for a positive emotional memory regarding these topics, which impacts their education at school in a very significant way.
In addition to the characters being smart and fun, they make mistakes that humanize them, also challenging the protagonist to help others, working on two fundamental socio-emotional skills: kindness and engagement with others. We put the child in a new environment, with characters out of the real context and in unusual situations, which makes reading stories much more than just learning, but also helps them be open to new experiences.
DDH: Can you tell us a little about how the illustrations complement the text and vice versa?
Camila: Our script planning, text pace, choice of characters, and illustrations target multiple stimuli to the visual field, body experience, and sounds. The illustrations not only contextualize the concepts, but they are also beautiful in the diversity of colors and styles. They magically complement the narrative, which consists of a playful rhythm with strategic repetitions that are super fun! Discover new surprises when reading the books again and again! The richness of the details makes each title unique and special, made just for you.
DDH: Did maternity impact the construction of the collection in any way?
Camila: Motherhood was essential for me to have real contact with the first lessons of childhood.
Everything I dreamed of and accomplished writing each of the themes was only made possible by immersion in the children’s universe, by the countless hours in which I not only told but heard stories from the imagination of my children, Mariana (9 years old) and Murilo (7 years). The improbability, the humor, learning difficulties, and their language have become a unique repertoire for me to build the didactic-playful material necessary for this collection, with a touch of behavior, feelings, and varied emotions of children in real life.
DDH: What tips do you have for everyone to enjoy this reading in the best possible way?
Camila: The connection between parents and the universe of learning for children has never been more fundamental. Especially in early childhood, all possible stimuli in the field of experience represent very significant results for the future of little ones. The family reading time experience reinforces the bonds that also directly impact the development process of these children in an integral way.
The value of the collection is that it does not have a specific reading order, which was a concern of ours during the writing process. Also, the child can start reading independently, making their interpretation of the story only through the passages and illustrations, observing the cover, characters, and scenes, recognizing themselves in the context. The reading mediator enters the scene facilitating the involvement with the book, assisting with intonations that help give life to the stories and characters.
With each rereading, the child’s repertoire expands, and they become able to make connections between this playful and symbolic universe, with various real-life issues. It is at this moment that the construction of knowledge begins, naturally and peacefully. We also have a rich text that has terms, language, and sequences that promote new interpretations as the child grows up and returns to that story to read again.
About the Author
Camila Comitre is the mother of Mari and Mumu, a writer, a speaker, a children’s book publisher, and a specialist in Socioemotional Education. Certified in “Leaders of Learning” and “Family Engagement in Education” by Harvard University. Co-founder of PLUG.lab Tools for Socioemotional Education.