Sevim Ak’s mother and father were teachers. She grew up on a dead-end street in Samsun, on the Black Sea Coast. Her childhood street is one of the most enduring sources of inspiration for her writing. From construction workers to bankers, all kinds of people lived on her street. In this diverse environment Ak was reared without regard for cultural differences created on the basis of gender, social status and religious belief. On this street the families with better economic conditions aided those families who had financial difficulties and who couldn’t afford to send their children to school. The children living on the street used to collect money for less fortunate neighbors and offered support by buying uniforms and school books for them.

 

On this street Sevim Ak had plenty of time to observe the small intricate details of everyday life. During those years she started to use a yellow paged notebook her father bought her for doing math problems as a little story book where she used to record everyday events. She was a successful student during primary and secondary school. When she became the top student in her school, her family and her teachers advised her to study science. In the first year of high school Ak decided she wanted to be a chemical engineer. Although her parents encouraged Sevim in her academics, her father instilled in his daughter the importance of developing a strong sense of her own identity and not just as a student. With her father’s guidance, Ak never gave up on her love for literature as a personal creative outlet.

 

To a certain extent the realistic and yet creative insight Ak shows when delving into the world of children reflects the richness of her own childhood experiences. During her years studying science she never gave up writing stories. After being educated in chemistry she pursued a more specialized degree in biochemistry. Although she continued to write stories about children, she kept them to herself and didn’t ask for constructive criticism from those around her at the time. For over two years the author kept her work private. Ak’s first published piece appeared in the newspaper, Cumhuriyet. Later many other children’s magazines also published her writings. In 1987 she brought her collected stories to Redhouse Publishing House and her first book My Kite is a Cloud Now was born. With this book, Sevim Ak won the Children’s Literature Story Prize of Akademi Bookstore. This prize encouraged her to write more. She wrote scenarios and stories about the environment for TRT (The Turkish Radio and TV Broadcasting). Her work received acclaim outside of Turkey. Some of her stories were published in Yugoslavian children’s magazines. Her short story called “My Name is Titi” was included in the Balkan Children Writers’ Selection (Tregime) which was published in Albania. Another medium which aroused Sevim Ak’s interest was children’s theatre. One of her plays, The Hide and Seek of Dreams played in Istanbul Municipality City Theatres.

 

 

 

Sevim Ak has long played an integral role in projects aimed at the care and education of children. Her books have striking relevance as fundamental teaching tools and agents for the relief and restoration of the human spirit. Following the Marmara earthquake on August 17th 1999, a psycho-social rehabilitation project carried out by the Tel-Aviv Municipality Psychological Health Center, Marmara University, the Turkish Israeli pre-fabricated village and primary school design foundation and Yalova Altınova Primary School used thirteen of Ak’s stories about fear to help ease the trauma and grief of young survivors.

 

On the Traveling Experiment Project Ak traveled to 140 regional boarding institutions and 30 village schools in seven years with a team of 33 volunteers from ILKYAR (The Charity Foundation for Primary Schools). At the schools she visited she read her stories to children and worked with them to creating new stories and retelling old ones. She wanted the children to tell her their life stories in addition to the fairy tales they heard at home in their own language. The results of those creative reading and story writing workshops conducted in Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia where first organized and printed in several installments (in the years 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005) by “Lignes D’ecritures” magazine in France. Afterwards, Ak compiled her memories from her travels to the regional boarding schools in a book titled Children of The Sun.

 

Her books called Vanilla Scented Letters, Puf, Pufpuf, Cuf, Cufcuf and Cino were translated into Korean and were published in South Korea.

 

Her books called Toto and His Umbrella, My Kite is a Cloud Now, Dad’s Eyes Are Cat Eyes and Penguins Cannot Play the Flute have been translated into German and have been recently published in Germany.

 

Her illustrated pre-school story book called Broken Umbrella which has, illustrated by Huban Korman, has won the Illustrated Book Prize given by the Association of Children And Youth Publishing.

 

Her books called From Stamp, From Stone, From Cabbage has translated into Dutch and and recently published in the Netherlands. Right after the book was published the Netherlands Ministry of Education invited Sevim Ak in their country as a part of celebrations to 400th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Turkey and the Netherlands. During her saty, Sevim Ak conducted a series of activities with both Dutch and Turkish children. Hereafter, a reception was held in the Netherlands Palace, İstanbul for Sevim Ak since From Stamp, From Stone, From Cabbage the first children’s novel to be translated from Turkish to Dutch.

 

Sevim Ak has been nominated for Hans Christian Andersen Awards 2012.

 

Sevim Ak's The Rooster Man and the Pirate has been chosen for Outstanding Books for Disabled Young People 2013 catalogue. By telling the story of a deaf and mute child and the struggles she goes through, Sevim Ak helps the readers to develop a different perspective to the disabled and emphasizes the importance of self-improvement.

 

In her stories Sevim Ak always keeps a child’s point of view alive, when she delivers funny, sad, and surprising parts from the lives of children. Therefore the characteristics which create the patterns of stories; and a fact as important as a matter of life and death for a child, which has, for instance, no value for an adult, and despite that, the transformation of really astonishing one into reality, and the mixing of the dream and the reality, and life’s first excitements, and the marks of disappointments and such things, they altogether are creating a world fairly different from adults’ way of perceiving. Another interesting side of these stories is that their open form which invites the child readers to take a part, and to dream together. In her stories which consist of momentarily sensitivities of a child’s life we can find no artificial sequence of events. In her latest novels, with a mild and witty style, she writes about dissolving families and the erosive effects of divorcing on children, or the problems of orphanage children, etc.