He quits his job as a teacher to write a book on the monuments of Reims, “for children aged 5 to 102”

A former college music teacher, Aurélie Pattier decided to go on her own by writing, illustrating and self-publishing “My Eyes Shine” (subtitled “Follow Me, Watch”). The crowdfunding completed on Sunday 17 April allowed him to create this book on the religious heritage of Reims.

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

Until the beginning of the 2021 school year, he taught music in college. But after these twenty years she wanted to do something else: write and illustrate a book, My eyes shine (subtitle Follow me, look). It will be published thanks to the success of a Ulule kitten, whose completion on Sunday 17 April 2022 brought the trifle of 6,200 euros.

The thirty-page book is dedicated “to children from 5 to 102 years old”. A short route allows you to learn a lot of information on the religious buildings of Reims (Marne), from the Foujita chapel to the Saint-Rémi basilica, without forgetting the Great Mosque and the synagogue (see the route that can be done in the city on the map below) .

France 3 Champagne-Ardenne has given the floor to this author overflowing with ideas and energy: the 1,200 copies of her book at 17 euros will appear by the beginning of May on the shelves of bookshops and the tourist office in Reims. The title was found. “My eyes shine in front of all the beautiful things that surround us in our city of Reims: it is super beautiful, what surrounds us, and we absolutely must talk about it with our children. The subtitle, follow me and watch, indicates that in this book we’ll take a walk in a museum with a little girl “. Who is also the youngest, visible on the cover of “this beautiful book on beautiful things”representing “a poetic museum, both through illustrations and texts. I find that we don’t have many books on the beautiful things that surround us, much less with beautiful words, which rhyme and sound musical.”

The Coronation City is thus honored (and captured by the newspaper’s attention The Union who dedicated an enthusiastic page to him) “because we have magnificent buildings on every street corner. I cannot walk past our churches and monuments without turning my head and looking. children, because we ourselves don’t know much. My lack of culture on this subject has frustrated me.”

The topic is not boring, even for young children who know nothing about the history of these places or the concepts inherent to religions (note that the book does not proselytize and never mentions God). “It’s only when you don’t know anything about it. There is the history, the architecture, the messages hidden behind the statues or the stained glass windows … Children can, without any problem, be interested in all of this. It’s just that there are very few books that will talk about it with them. I think that putting a child in front of this and talking about it in a sensitive and sensible way, with a lot of conviction and emotion, joy: it will put him to work “.

There is something there “nurturing the potential of children, with real things from real life”, she is sure. What keeps its gaze also on what surrounds them: in this book many religious confessions are represented. Originally there were also more profane or profane monuments, but the author preferred “refocusing to avoid going everywhere. I wanted to open the wonder, but not to the only things we already know. For example, not just the cathedral. I also wanted to 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 children [et adultes assurément, ndlr] I absolutely don’t know that there is a temple or a synagogue in Reims. I think if we don’t talk to them about everything that exists, we don’t turn them into tolerant children, who risk saying to themselves: ‘They never told me about it, so it sucks’. “

Note that we are talking about children, but that the target audience is between 5 and 102 years old. Quite large, this set “possible reading levels” which are the author’s pride, but there is a good reason in this intergenerational dimension (very significant in Reims). Because everyone can read at their own pace. “A five-year-old might want to read it all, while another just wants to look at the illustrations: he’ll have taken something from the book anyway. His hidden message is that let’s stop saying a book is made for such ages: children’s literature that works by age group, she’s pretty stupid. “


“It is true that we cater more to children of this or that age, but the adults who corrected me for the final correction told me that they had learned a lot, that they found that it was really good for them too. i know too [des personnes âgées] they are just waiting to be able to read about the churches where they got married or that they particularly like. The same for a three-year-old who will recognize the building on the corner of his street or the one where his cousin was baptized. And in case these buildings do not interest a part of the readers very much, the one who is also an illustrator has hidden doves in each of her drawings, “because small details fascinate” still.

The 43-year-old former teacher has taken a leave of absence from National Education (this is not a full and complete resignation, but she is no longer paid). You have found the system “routines, rigid and not suited to the needs and multiple intelligences of our children [elle est très Montessori-compatible; ndlr]. I’m too hypersensitive to leave problem children in classrooms that are 30 “. The desire was there to find something that “do not stress her”which allows her to go home fully dedicating herself to her family and her wishes (teachers have a lot of work at home, administrative tasks to manage, meetings and training to attend).

Desires to research (on the Internet or at the Carnegie Library), to meet (architects, clerics, etc.) and to create. Writing, he likes and constitutes “supreme freedom”. The will is also present to prove to itself that it is “he couldn’t just be a master up to 65 brooms”. The imprisonment, then a part-time job in a bakery (his energy and his ease made up for his total lack of experience), allowed him to fully tackle this project (when others have opened bookstores). “We were deprived of everything, concerts or strolls in the streets, and all this culture, this architecture, these shows, we were missing. I told myself at that moment that it was interesting, that before I wanted to go to the other side of the world – because not even we could get to the end of our street – would we go and find out what is at the end of our house?

He couldn’t imagine what “unlikely support” more than a hundred people who allowed him to complete his project. “I was a little uncomfortable at first. I don’t usually ask for help doing what I want to do, let alone financial help. And in fact, several people have told me about it, and I thought what I wanted would do. for a year, I was doing it for sharing. And then, if he talked to people, they would agree to help. But I honestly didn’t think there would be such large donations. “

Aurélie Pattier does not refrain from writing future books on other themes of Reims, which for the moment she is keeping a secret. Why for her “In order for humanity to calm down, we need to talk about everything and beauty to our children. With passion.” He concludes by quoting Father Guy Gilbert, who wrote “to be amazed as much by the landscapes as by the beauty of human intelligence. This intelligence that was able to build Notre-Dame de Paris, the cathedral of Reims, the mosque of Istanbul; who painted the frescoes of the cathedral of Albi. beauty arouses kindness. “ Something that makes you want to open your eyes to the world around us, and not just for children.

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