A leading Vietnamese publisher said on May 16 it was time for children's authors and comic-book writers and illustrators to focus on creating works that were educational and not just for entertainment.

Nguyen Huy Thang, vice director of the Kim Dong Publishing House said that in modern times, people, especially children, tended to live in their own worlds.

He said a group of friends may sit and enjoy coffee together, but they often do not talk to each other. "Each one has his own smart phone or tablet to glue his eyes to," he added.

"Thanks to Facebook alerts, teenagers know when his friends have their birthdays, while in real life, he probably would not even remember his mother's.

Thang was addressing authors and writers at a two-day workshop as part of the Vietnam-Denmark Children's Literature Support Project.

It aims to provide opportunities for authors and painters to exchange and share their thoughts.

Many young authors joined with experienced book editors, teachers and psychologists with a similar passion for creating works of value for children.

Project manager Le Thi Dat said books were important for children because they helped educate and nurture their souls.

"The stories should teach children to love people and animals around them, love the simple things in ordinary life, then they would love the country and their homeland," said Dat.

"Through good books, children learn how to do the right thing. They can learn more about healthy living, culture and sympathise with disadvantaged people."

Poet Huong Ly, an editor for children's books, gave some suggestions for authors at the workshop.

"When you write a story for three-year-olds, read out the dialogues and ponder if a three-year-old child would say it that way or not," Ly said. "See the world through the eyes of the children, not the eyes of an adult."

Painter Ta Huy Long said authors should continue to improve themselves to meet the demands and tastes of children, who were choosy and smart.

During the workshop, authors discussed the construction of stories and how to portray characters in comics.

They also deliberated the 2013 -15 campaign to influence authors to write better material for children, a part of the Vietnam-Denmark project.

Writers can submit short stories for evaluation under the theme Go Cua Trai Tim (Knocking on Heart's door) for those aged 10-14 years old and cartoons themed Ngay Toi Gap (The day I Met...) for three to six-year-olds.-VNA