Ata und Ri im Reich der Steine

Name:Ata und Ri im Reich der Steine
Contributor:Gunnar Dickfeld & Carolin Seck
Organisation:Brett und Stein Verlag



Carolin is a primary school teacher and Gunnar a Go enthusiast who has started publishing books on Go in German language some time ago. After having organized several events at primaries schools to teach Go and Atari Go to children, it was our idea to address children and people not directly with the game of Go, but through other means. A children book telling an exciting story with big and colorful pictures would just be the right frame to impart the rules and motivate children to try the game themselves. Such book shall also allow teachers to use it worthwhile in school.


About the story and the book:

Two children, calling themselves Ata and Ri, have summer holidays, but its pouring outside. So they visit the old fisher who has always great ideas what to do. This time he proposes that each of them finds an item in the cottage and they will then create a game with these items. The girl Ata brings shells, Ri the boy black stones and the fisher has a piece of an old net. Ata likes the boy's stones and wants some them, but Ri denies and says: "You have to play for them!" So they invent the rules of capturing stones by encircling them, using the fishers net to place the stones on, but always on the knots of course!

Once they start playing the storm outside increases and suddenly a strong whirl wind lifts them into the Realm of the Stones. Here they are not very much welcomed at the beginning as they disturb the game. They are asked to answer three problems to proof they have understood the rules properly to be allowed to go home again. Will they indeed succeed?

Yes you guessed right, in the end of the story the game will be named by their inventors: ATARI.

The book includes a short instruction how to make your own playing board and be creative concerning stones: anything will do from shell, stones, buttons, old coins. This way children are animated to make their own playing material and can identify themselves with the game.

The concept:

The idea is, that children read the book, solve the three problems together with the heros of the story, look for appropriate playing material themselves and start playing Atari Go.

Of course it is much more fun if adults are reading the book aloud while listening and looking at the big pictures and solve the problems all together before continuing reading.

Teachers can use this to cover classes where they have creative leeway. But the concept of reading to children in groups can not only be applied to schools and kindergarden, but also to after school care, events in libraries, book shops, birthday parties and much more. Teachers do not need to know much about Go as everything is given within the story. Just follow the adventure!

Several ancillary items have been created: an additional work book with easy exercises to strengthen the understanding of rules (also to support teachers), a 9x9 game set in the respective layout.


Project aim:

Aim and purposes:

- Animate children to have fun playing Atari Go!
- Create a new contact/entry point to Go via a complete new channel (children book).
- Teach rules of Atari Go in attractive and active way for children (and accompanying adults)
- Increase familiarity and knowledge about the basics of Go with children
- Enable teacher and other adults to play Atari Go with children having no pre-knowledge,
- Reduce fear and reservation of contact of people having no knowledge about Go
- Avoid any complexity of the game, but facilitate self study and to stimulate the joy of discovery of children

Target groups:

- Children in kindergarden and primary school (5 - 12 years)
-Adults having or working with children
- People with no knowledge about Go at all.
- Any Go enthusiast working with children

Means of the project:

Main: Children book
Important: People happy to read books to children
Accessory parts: work book, special 9x9 boards and sets, real shells collected from the beach.

Time line:

Preparation Phase:

January 2014 start of project
April 2014 contracting illustrator and graphic designer
August 2014 contracting printing company
28 October 2014 publishing ("go live")

Running phase:

Since November 2014 marketing events for the book and sessions with children


Geographic extension:

German speaking countries: Germany, Austria Switzerland Mainly schools, after school care, but also book stores, libraries.



- Publication of the book and starting of sales and events.
- book is available in online shops and can be ordered in any book store using ISBN.
- Reading/workshop in primary schools (by author and primary school teacher)
- Reading/workshop in kindergarden by different people
- Public reading with children in book stores (by authors)
- Reading & playing on game fairs in Munich and Stuttgart
- Scheduled readings with children (after school groups) in libraries (by authors)
- Reading/workshop in primary school by primary school teacher without Go knowledge
- First work book published and distributed to interested target group (mainly teachers, parents)
- Very very positive and stimulating feedback from children.
- Very positive feedback from parents and teachers (including Korean family living in Germany).
- Loads of nice pictures with children playing Atari go.
- No training sessions needed for teachers to promote Atari Go in schools

Coolest result:

Felix (8 years old) had been enjoying the book as his auntie was reading it to him. Without knowing of his parents he introduced the book the following day in school forcing his teacher to read the book to all his school mates.


Public exposure:

Announcements on various websites, go bulletin of the German Go Association and local news papers

Human resources:

Preparation phase:

Creation of book: Carolin and Gunnar as authors, Jan-Peter as illustrator,
Support: Lars and Steffi for graphic design and text consultancy
Publishing: Gunnar with his publishing company

Running phase:

Sessions of Reading: Caro, Gunnar, Felix (age 8), Rainer, Sarah and others

Advertising/making contacts: Philipp, Martin, Matthias, Christiane and many others


Feedback from Sarah S.

"I am a primary school teacher who has never played a game of Go before I met Caro and Gunnar. They introduced their book to me and suggested to read and play with a group of pupils in my school. On first of June I had such opportunity to fill an hour of a day of special activities in my school. I gave the story of Ata and Ri a try.

It took not much preparation and finally I got two groups of ten pupils (one hour each) with whom I read the book. We solved the three problems Ata and Ri were given by the Stones before progressing with the story. Afterwards the kids did some easy exercises from the workbook and now nobody could stop them to try the game themselves. It was a great project for me and the pupils. We had a lot of fun. I will use the book and the game again and will recommended it to other teachers."

Financial resources:

Financial budget was provided by Brett und Stein Verlag (owned by Gunnar) as sponsorship for printing, illustrations, editorial support, listing in distribution channels, initial advertisement.


- Growing awareness of the book leading to:
- growing number of sessions with children reading the book and playing Atari Go
- growing number of school teachers incorporating the book and concept in their work
- Continuous promotion through contact session
- Creation of additional work books for primary school focusing on specific subjects like German, mathematics, English making use of the children book as a basis to support teachers in school
- Second volume, where Ata and Ri meet the stones again and learn about fencing territory :-)

Possibilities of copying this project:

Since the book is already available (in German) the starting point is easy: take the book, take a group of children and start reading together!


- More human ressources/support to have more session with children in schools, libraries etc.
- Financial support/budget could be used in different ways:
- new illustration for the ancillary work books
- for advertisement, e.g. in magazines focusing on children education, teachers and parents
- for advertisement in book shops
- for a dedicated website/app to bring children together who have read the book and want to play together
- Future: maybe translation into other language.

Winning of the Iwamoto award alone would increase the reputation of the book and its distribution to the target groups.

Additonal comments:

Copies of the full book can be provided to the Jury.


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