First English Translation of Kaytek the Wizard – Janusz Korczak’s Timeless Tale
“Who would you like to be when you grow up?” Janusz Korczak asked a class of boys. “A wizard,” one of them replied. The others started laughing, and the boy felt embarrassed, so he added: “I’m sure I’ll be a judge like my father, but you asked who we’d like to be.” That was in 1929, and four years later Kaytek the Wizard, the story of a wayward boy who develops extraordinary magical powers, was first published in Polish.
When Kaytek the Wizard was released in 1933, itoffered a new perspective on children, their dreams, complexities, and abilities. Korczak, a renowned pioneer of children’s rights, was one of the first modern writers to imagine a child as a full and complex wizard figure. As such, Kaytek the Wizard was a precursor to Harry Potter, and Korczak’s fiction has been described as having been as well-known as Peter Pan in his day.
Janusz Korczak (1879–1942) was the pen name of Dr. Henryk Goldszmit, a pediatrician and child psychologist who famously ran a central Warsaw orphanage on innovative educational principles. Korczak left behind a large written legacy, including books on education, plays, essays, letters, and of course, novels and stories for children, including King Matt the First.
Kaytek has previously been published in German, Spanish, Hebrew, and most recently French. This first English translation of Kaytek the Wizard coincides with the Polish Parliament’s declaration of 2012 as “The Year of Janusz Korczak.” This year contains two important anniversaries connected with Korczak: the 70th anniversary of his death – heroically accompanying the children of his orphanage – in the Treblinka concentration camp, and the 100th anniversary of the founding of his orphanage on Krochmalna Street in Warsaw.
The Magic of Kaytek
Kaytek, a schoolboy who wants to become a wizard, is surprised to discover that, Read the rest of this entry »