Foreword

Jonathan Pupil’s Answer Collection

by

Karim Ajania

Watercolor Story Illustrations
by
Véronique Chéne

Foreword

by
Ambassador Pierre Gramegna

 

Is there a greater pleasure than diving into a story, letting yourself go and finding both simplicity and depth? Yes, there is! It is to read such a story to a child.

Karim Ajania has taken up this task in “Jonathan Pupil’s Answer Collection: A Christmas Story“.

His story is written patiently and candidly. Neither the adult nor the child suspects that they are embarking upon a philosophical tale that will lead them to the four corners of the earth. They will return astonished, surprised, happier. Is that not a magnificent gift?

The style of Karim Ajania is essentially simple, often childlike but never overdone. Simplicity and repetition are the key to understanding what appears complicated. Karim skillfully uses metaphors as adults stylishly speak them. He is a master of images and imagination as children would very clearly see them. There are always genuine formulas to explain complex ideas. Children prove it over and over when they begin to talk. Adults have the unfortunate tendency to obscure what sparkles with clarity. Karim is an exception to this sad rule; his clear style recalls a child’s language that has been enriched by an elaborate content.

Jonathan Pupil collects answers as others do stamps, mansions or ditties. Of all these passions, his seems the most vain. However, the tale reveals that knowing the appropriate answer is a precious thing, one of inestimable value. On the contrary, an immoderate taste for accumulation leads to much vanity and sadness. Most characters in the story, except for Jonathan and Miss Teacher, are seeking blinding popularity and social recognition.

In the process they forget the essentials: that we are all different and that it is better to understand and know your neighbour. Jonathan Pupil is enshrined in the most beautiful tradition of the philosophical tales that bring back the memory of the essentials: that is, the meaning of life.

But I am getting carried away in these last sentences, which are far too serious. They analyze, whilst we should let the story transport us from the North Pole to India, from Africa to China.

The author seems to know all these places very well, and if he doesn’t, he knows their customs. Let us travel to the heart of these foreign cultures in order to become like the author and the children, astonished and insightful. So that we may be more like a shepherd and less like a sheep.

Ambassador Pierre Gramegna