Born in 1959, Marka Míková is a writer, theater director, actress and musician. She studied directing and dramaturgy at the Department of Puppetry of the Theater Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. She has worked in a number of theaters in the Czech Republic and abroad. During the 1970s and 1980s she acted in several films and in 1981 she started performing in an all-female punk band called “Teeth Nails” (Zuby nehty), with which she has recorded five albums. The author of seven books for children, Marka has been nominated twice for the prestigious Czech literary prize Magnesia Litera and received the Golden Ribbon Prize for her book “Bookfoss”. Currently she is active in a non-profit organization called Puppets in Hospital, which helps to comfort child patients. Marka Míková lives and works in Prague and is the mother of four children.
A selection of titles
The Man and the Sparrow (Pán a vrabec)
A bilingual Czech-English edition
A poetic story about the gift of friendship. A nameless man lives alone in a house with a garden, working on his computer. Then a sparrow makes its nest under the roof of his house, much to the joy of the man: finally he has a friend! And also a boy from the neighbourhood comes to visit. These three understand each other almost without words, and have a lot of fun together. But then suddenly the sparrow disappears. And this happens at a time when the boy becomes seriously ill. When will the boy return from hospital and will he recover ? And where is the sparrow gone?
The book is bilingual, Czech-English, and includes comic spreads with separate episodes from the life of the main characters. Thus the book caters to multiple readerships: adults can read it to children who cannot read yet; beginner readers can enjoy the comics; and for those who are already learning English, the book will be useful on two levels: they can read the simple text of the comics as well as the more challenging narration, which has a rich vocabulary.
Varvara. A Book about the Journey of a Whale
Publisher: Fantasos, Praha, 2015
Illustrations: Miro Pogran
Rights sold: Spanish
This adventure of a whale-lady on her long journey across the Pacific Ocean is inspired by a true story. In 2015 researchers measured the journey of a female of the majestic gray whale species. They called her Varvara. She swam a distance of 22,500 kilometers, the longest migration route undertaken by any mammal.
Marka Míková has created a playful fairy-tale out of these facts. Her narration starts with the birth of Varvara, who will eventually give birth to a whale baby herself. As she grows up and travels the ocean, the whale-girl has lots of adventures. As well as other sea creatures, she meets people. First she trusts them, but soon she comes to realize that some of them pose a grave danger for whales, as they hunt them despite the worldwide ban. People also use the sea as a container for waste, endangering all its inhabitants. Although it touches on these serious topics, Marka Míková’s narration is filled with joyful charm and imagination. During her long journey Varvara learns to sing the mysterious whale song. She experiences the sea at its calmest and stormiest; she learns what it is to be happy and what it means to be anxious. She approaches everything with vitality and curiosity. After losing her mother she will have to take care of herself and others, like the little clumsy dolphin. In the end the whale-lady Varvara finds great love as well as her destination.
Ivan Matějka, Literární noviny
Publisher: Argo, Praha, 2014
Crevices, nooks and crannies: all of a sudden, they start appearing everywhere – in the walls and ceilings, underneath the stairs, on the ground. People take notice of them, but only little Matilda plucks up the courage to crawl into one of them. And then another one. And then a secret passage underneath the church…
Little Matilda has no idea where her mommy has gone. She misses her so much! Living with her workaholic father, a film director, she has to shop, cook, clean and do the laundry, all by herself. Dealing with her father’s constant moods, she feels very lonely. Dad is very busy and hardly ever has time for her. He’s even late to her piano recital, but Matilda can never stay mad at him very long. She is fascinated by his work and the world of filmmaking. One day, looking for a neighbor’s lost ferret, Matilda notices a strange crevice underneath the stairs. She crawls in and finds an entrance to another world, full of animal pictures and soft music: a world much friendlier and kinder than her own, where she can have anything she’s ever wanted. In the end, she even finds her long-lost mother, and learns why she’s had to grow up without her.
Publisher: Argo, Praha, 2012
Skyscrapers are quaint buildings that reach into the clouds. Inside them there are a great many rooms, a great many people and even more stories. Things happen in them that would never happen in a small house. Readers of the book will be taken to New York and San Francisco, where young heroes Emma, Lucy and a little lost boy have incredible adventures as they encounter existential situations in and around skyscrapers. The author has created a dramatic and dynamic set of modern fairy-tales embedded in a real environment but developed through elements of fantasy. Marka Míková’s exceptional mix of fun and serious writing is a joyful read.