“How does the Evil Eye protect us?”, “Do you think that Cigar Borek is bad for our health?”, “How come you don’t pronounce ‘th’ when you say ‘Simit’?” “Are you a Turk?”
These are typical questions I get from my five-year old daughter Melissa. The more she asks these unconventional questions, the more I realize how challenging and in fact, how much fun it is to raise my child in my new adopted country.
It is a true challenge. I want to raise her as a good American, yet I want her to know, appreciate, and of course, experience Turkish traditions and cultural values. I also want her to feel like she belongs, when she visits her relatives in Turkey.
It is so much fun, though… I have to come up with creative answers to explain the “metaphysical mechanics” of “Evil’s Eye” and possible side effects of eating something that looks like a cigarette.
It is heartening to know that I am not alone in my life-long quest. I know that there are so many Turkish-American parents in the U.S. who are experiencing the same challenges and opportunities while raising their children. I know that we carry the very same hopes and concerns for our children. I do not know you by face, by name, yet this strong denominator makes me feel closer to all fellow Turkish-American parents, even though we may be living hundreds of miles apart from each other.
I want Melissa to feel close to the Turkish-American community as well. I want her to know that whatever hardship she may go through in her life; she will not be alone... There will always be a second generation Turkish-American willing to help her should she need it. Or there will be someone who would need Melissa’s hand…Most of all, I want her to bond with second generation Turkish-Americans so that she can share Turkish values and traditions without feeling alienated from the society she lives in. My wishes, of course, are not limited to only my child. I want all these for all Melissas, Cans and Denizs…..
One day, while looking for new ways to bring together the second generation Turkish-Americans, it dawned on me that my previous professional experience in Turkey may very well become handy… In the 1990’s I worked as the managing director of Türkiye Çocuk Magazine. It was the top magazine in its field at that time.
I rolled up my sleeves immediately and began working to put together Bonbon, the first bilingual magazine aimed at Turkish-American children between the ages of 6-14.
I gathered a professional team of writers, editors, cartoonists who share one common vision: Bonbon is to create a strong bonding among Turkish-American children and build a strong sense of community. Our goal is to reflect Turkish culture, traditions and its values while teaching our children tolerance and understanding. We are hoping to help improve our children’s Turkish language as well…
Bonbon’s board of editors includes not only professionals but children as well. They will help us find the best methods and ways to reach the hearts and minds of their peers.
Bonbon will feature comics, cartoons, the best Turkish children’s stories, puzzles, games, posters, news and interviews.
Bonbon will also feature its reader’s works such as poems, short stories, jokes, drawings and pictures…
Bonbon, a non-profit and non-partisan educational magazine, is a humble initiative launched in an effort to contribute to the well being and future of Turkish-American community.
This is only a small step in the long journey of creating a stronger community.
I hope you will personally contribute to this effort by introducing Bonbon to your children -- not only as reader but as guest writers, poets and painters…
Your immediate support will be subscribing your children to Bonbon.
Please keep in mind, Bonbon is also seeking parents’ active involvement in shaping the future of the magazine.
You can help us in many ways, whether it be sharing your ideas and views or becoming an official sponsor for the magazine. Bonbon is open to parents’ contribution in any form.
I hope you loved our magazine. If you have not subscribed yet, hurry now and do so.