She leaves her job as a teacher to write a book about the monuments of Reims “for children from 5 to 102 years”

Aurélie Pattier, a former university music teacher, decided to strike out on her own by writing, illustrating and self-publishing “My eyes sparkle” (subtitled “Follow me, look”). Crowdfunding completed on Sunday, April 17 enabled him to create this book on the religious heritage of Reims.

“Make your life a dream, and this dream a reality.” Aurélie Pattier used this famous maxim of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry to the letter.

Until the start of the school year 2021, she taught music in college. But she would do something else after these twenty years: write and illustrate a book, My eyes twinkle (subtitle Follow me, see). It is published thanks to the success of an Ulule kitten, whose completion on Sunday 17 April 2022 brought in small change of 6,200 euros.

The 30-page book is dedicated “for children from 5 to 102 years”. A short route allows you to learn a wealth of information about the religious buildings of Reims (Marne), from the Foujita Chapel to the Basilica of Saint-Rémi, without forgetting the Grand Mosque and the Synagogue (see the route as possible to do in the city on the map below).

France 3 Champagne-Ardenne gave the floor to this author, overflowing with ideas and energy: The 1,200 copies of her book for 17 euros will appear in early May on bookstore shelves and the Reims Tourist Office. The title was found. “My eyes sparkle at all the beautiful things that surround us in our city of Reims: it’s super beautiful, that which surrounds us, and we absolutely have to talk to our children about it. The subtitle, follow me and see, indicates that in this book we are going for a walk in a museum with a little girl. “ Which is also his youngest, visible on the front of “this beautiful book about beautiful things”which represents “a poetic museum, both through the illustrations and the texts. I find that we do not have many books about the beautiful things that surround us, even less with beautiful words that rhyme and sound musical.”

The coronation city is thus honored (and caught the eye of the newspaper The union who dedicated an enthusiastic page to him) “because we have magnificent buildings on every street corner. I can not pass in front of our churches and monuments without turning our heads and looking. children, because we ourselves do not know much about it. My lack of culture on this subject frustrated me.”

The topic is not boring, even for young children who know nothing about the history of these places or the concepts inherent in religions (note that the book is not proselytizing and never quotes God). “It’s only when you know nothing about it. There’s the history, the architecture, the messages hidden behind the statues or the glass mosaics … Children can easily be interested in all this. It’s just that there are very few books coming. to talk to them about it.I think putting a child in front of this and talking to him about it in a sensitive and sensible way, with a lot of conviction and emotion.joy: it will put him on the job . “

There’s something there “feed children’s potential with real life real things”, she’s sure of it. What also maintains their view of what surrounds them: many religious denominations are represented in this book. Originally, more secular or secular monuments were also planned, but the author preferred “to refocus to avoid going over it all. I would open up to the wonder, but not for the only things we already know. For example, not just the cathedral. I would also let people know that the great mosque exists, that “There are people of other faiths in our country and they are respectable. I think some kids. ” [et adultes assurément, ndlr] know absolutely not that there is a temple or a synagogue in Reims. I think that if we do not talk to them about everything that exists, then we do not make them tolerant children who risk saying to themselves: ‘I have never been told about it, so it stinks”.

Note that we are talking about children, but that the target group is between 5 and 102 years old. Pretty big, this set “possible reading levels” which is the pride of the author, but there is a good reason for this in this intergenerational dimension (very significant in Reims). Because everyone can read at their own pace. “A five-year-old kid might want to read it all when someone else just wants to look at the illustrations: he still wants to take something from the book. His hidden message is that we stop saying a book is made for something like that. age: children’s literature that works by age group, that’s pretty stupid. “


“It’s true that we are more likely to address children at such an age, but the adults who proofread me for the last proof told me that they had learned a lot of things that they found out. that it was really good for them too. I know that too [des personnes âgées] just waiting to be able to read about churches where they got married or that they especially like. The same for a three-year-old child who wants to recognize the building on the corner of his street or the one where his cousin was baptized. And if these buildings do not interest a part of the readership so much, the one who is also an illustrator has hidden pigeons in each of his drawings, “because small details fascinate” still.

The 43-year-old former teacher has taken leave from the National Education (it is not a full and complete dismissal, but she no longer receives a salary). She found the system “routine, rigid and not adapted to our children’s needs and diverse intelligences [elle est très Montessori-compatible; ndlr]. I’m too hypersensitive to leave troubled children in classes that have 30. “ The desire was there to find something there “do not stress her”which allows her to return home and devote herself to her family and her wishes (teachers have a lot of work at home, administrative tasks to manage, meetings and training to attend).

Desire to research (on the Internet or at the Carnegie Library), to meet (architects, pastors, etc.) and to create. Writing, he likes it, and it makes up “highest freedom”. The will is also present to prove to itself that it “could not only be a teacher up to 65 cost”. The imprisonments, then a part-time job in a bakery (his energy and his agility compensated for his total lack of experience), allowed him to tackle this project fully (when others opened bookstores). “We were deprived of everything, concerts or walking the streets, and all this culture, this architecture, these shows, we missed it. I said to myself at the time that it was interesting that before would go to it other side of the world – for we could not walk to the end of our street either – would we go and discover what is at the bottom of our house?

She could not imagine what “unlikely support” of more than a hundred people who allowed him to complete his project. “In the beginning, I was a little uncomfortable with it. I do not usually ask for help to do what I want, let alone financial help. And in fact, there were several who told me about it, and I thought that what I should do for a year, I did it to share. And then, if it spoke to people, they would be ok to help. But I honestly did not think there would be such large donations. “

Aurélie Pattier does not refrain from writing future books on other Reims themes, which she keeps secret at the moment. Because for her, “For humanity to calm down, we must talk about everything and beauty to our children. With passion.” She concludes by quoting father Guy Gilbert who wrote “to be amazed at the landscapes as much as at the beauty of human intelligence. This intelligence that knew how to build Notre-Dame de Paris, the cathedral of Reims, the mosque of Istanbul; who painted the frescoes of the cathedral of Albi … Because beauty evokes kindness. “ Something to make you want to open your eyes to the world around us, and not just to children.

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