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The scientific project output is a children's book: A Tale About Miško the Teddy-Bear, Who Wanted to Get to Know the Whole World

27. 3. 2024 | 1067 visits

Every story has its message. Fables about animals, on the other hand, have a hidden moral. The book A Tale About Miško the Teddy-Bear, Who Wanted to Get to Know the Whole World combines a message, a moral, geography, a description of little-known places or the secrets of nature. It is also one of the planned outputs of the international project of the Institute of Geography SAS, Geotouristic potential of Podtatrze area and the possibilities of its development. The book talks about the adventures of Miško the Teddy-Bear, who decided to get to know the "Whole World", and invites you to learn about the Polish-Slovak border area under the Tatras.

"The essential idea behind the creation of the book was to show the little admirers of nature its secrets so that they could playfully learn something interesting," says one of the co-authors, Ján Novotný, of the Institute of Geography SAS. Simultaneously, he explains the reason why he and his Polish colleagues decided to write the book. He adds that the book proves that even complex geological and geomorphological processes can be explained simply and engagingly. "In Poland, there are books that use a similar style, for example, books about the life of bees or about the Tatra National Park. These books were the primary inspiration for us," explains the scientist. The motivation for the project was also the fact that many places in the Tatras are overcrowded with tourists. Miško the Teddy-Bear travels on those roads and paths where tourists do not disturb him so much. “We investigated the potential of tourism in less visited locations in their vicinity as part of the project," adds the scientist and points to the developing new field of tourism - geotourism. "The essence of geotourism is the opportunity to learn something more about the places we visit. Our book offers this for the little curious geotourists.”

The mentioned project focuses on geolocations in the territory that the authors defined as the vicinity of the Tatras in Slovakia and Poland, and includes three traditional ethnographic regions in Slovakia - Orava, Liptov and Spiš, and one in Poland - Podhalie. Within this territory, scientists identified more than 100 geolocations, which they documented and assessed. "Even our book hero has moved in this area and visited some of these places from the very beginning," says the scientist.  The route along which the teddy-bear travels and the adventures he experiences during the journey crystallized gradually. How did they choose places for the teddy-bear's journey - what was first: the scientific intention or a lyrical description? "The description of interesting places was the key idea. We chose the location first and only then thought about what the teddy-bear could experience there. Sometimes, however, the idea for a new antics came first, and then we thought about which place it could be connected with,” describes the co-author. The book, written by Anna Chrobak-Žuffová, Anna Delekta, Ján Novotný and Jolanta Mirecka, is currently only available online and the authors of the project have not yet considered its commercial use. "We are considering its paper version, but nothing concrete is planned yet. One of the possible ideas is for the book to be offered to visitors as part of the promotional materials that individual tourism regions create," explains the co-author and scientist. "The original of 'Mišo's Journey' was written in Polish. Together with my colleagues from Krakow (from the former Pedagogical University, today Uniwersytet Komisji Edukacji Narodowej w Krakowie), we created the basic scheme of the story. Then, in cooperation with Jolanta Mirecka, who has experience writing children's books, we completed it literary." The graphic look of the book is also very important. The illustrations by the talented artist Magdalena Chrobaková were continuously created during the entire process of writing the book and were thus an integral part of it.

Ján Novotný eventually translated the text into Slovak. As he says, the biggest challenge was the poems and puns. However, it was a pleasant change to detach himself from the austere scientific style and write for a while in poetic language. "Only the readers can decide to what extent it was successful," concludes J. Novotný of the Institute of Geography SAS with a smile.

The project Geotouristic potential of Podtatrze area and the possibilities of its development is financed by the International Visegrad Fund and it focuses on the territory of Podtatrze (the border area surrounding the Tatras, which includes four historical and cultural regions: Podhalie, Orava, Liptov and Spiš). The main goal of the project is to inventory and assess the unique forms of abiotic nature in the area as well as to assess the tourist potential of this area and conduct pilot studies on a purposefully selected group of people deciding about the condition and development of the studied region.


Edited by: Andrea Nozdrovická

Photo: illustrations from the book

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