After graduating university in Czech Republic, Michaela Sanytrova decided to move to London without knowing what she was going to do here, from very few sentences I could see how passionate this person is. At first she looked shy and silent, but actually her eyes sparkle when she is talking about things that she adores. She published a book for bilingual kids, ‘My name is Karamel’.
‘I wrote my book on a train’ – she laughs, every day when she was travelling home she was typing. ‘The story of the book is quite simple, it is about a Teddy Bear, and his name is Karamel. He was born in London from children wishes, because they were alone and did not have anyone to play with.’ Karamel did not know how to speak English, ‘He did not know how to even say Hi’. This book is written for bilingual kids with English and Czech languages. ‘It is about learning – how it feels to learn a new language and how it can be challenging.’
Michaela believes that the ability to speak other languages for children ‘is a gift’. Although, it can be quite challenging for a kid to speak two or three languages, but Michaela thinks that it is not that hard if ‘their parents encourage them’. She believes that another language can be represented as a ‘secret language that we can talk on a train and no one can understand us’, then it would be as a game for a child.
‘People often think that everything is difficult in life. That is not true. Of course, if you want it’
She worked as a volunteer with bilingual kids in Czech Republic, and then she noticed that some of the kids found it difficult reading in Czech. ‘One girl could read Harry Potter in English, but she could read it in Czech only in really simple language.’ That inspired her to write a bilingual book which ‘is interesting but also language is not that difficult. I wrote it because of the children. They helped me.’
Michaela thinks that the myth, which claims that learning two languages it is too hard for kid and it just confuses them it is not true. ‘Sometimes it can be confusing, but only if there are no rules about separating these languages, if a mom, for example is Czech she should not change the language every five minutes, otherwise, it is nonsense.’
Michaela studied language and literature. In order of that I wondered what her favourite author is. She looked really surprised ‘This is so difficult’ – she laughed. ‘I do not know, I really like children’s literature, maybe more than adult’s literature. When I was a kid I really loved ‘Alice in Wonderland’ I think it is my favourite one. I cannot say my favourite author, there is so many of them!’
Michaela wants to keep her job by teaching ‘maybe not for the rest of my life, but for many years’. She already has plans for a new multilingual book, which is going to be written in Czech, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. She looked really excited about this idea, she is not going to stop after her first book, and it felt like this book it is just a beginning of her writing career. ‘People often think that everything is difficult in life. That is not true. Of course, if you want it’. – She smiles.