‘ahems and ahahs’

Literature, & Etc.

Posts Tagged ‘children’s literature

with one comment

I recently participated in that loathsome atrocity of the Internet that is known as a “meme”. Thank you for time-wasting activities Faith. 😉

The meme in question asked people to list 30 books that come to mind that they consider impacting on their lives, books that we “carry” with us everywhere, you know, those books that we consider foundational to our personalities. At least those of us who consider ourselves avid readers, bibliophiles if you will.

A number of people cited the standard canonical English Lit. Canon, and there is much in that list that deserves mentioning and most of us have at least 1/3 of our list devoted to such titles. books

One thing I saw absent from a number of people’s lists though were children’s books. Often times I think we forget how important those first few books, those first “giant” (or at least what we thought of as giant) reads were and how they subsequently shaped our entire reading future.

I thought I’d list off a few books from my childhood that I know helped shape who I am as a person and my passion for reading.

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

This book is cliche to the point of tackiness. As if someone jumped into Norman Rockwell’s mind and said to him: “I want an image of Americana set in the mountains about a young boy and his love of dogs and the outdoors.” Rockwell projected his image into Wilson Rawls and there we have it. [ Reading that back I realize how stupid that comparison sounds, but it works somehow. ]

I have a worn out copy of this somewhere in a box and I mean worn, the pages are starting to fall out from having been read so much. I think that all children go through that phase where they desperately want for a young puppy. This book captures that feeling admirably and if you’re looking for a very simple and clean story, this is worth picking up, and it is about a day’s worth of reading.

A young boy who comes from a poor family that cannot afford any puppies, so the young boy listens to some common advice: God helps those who help themselves. And this is exactly what he does, works hard at his chores and at odd jobs so that he can save up enough to purchase the dogs himself.  A simple enough story but it’s full of adventure, violence, love, death, so much more. Check it out. Cheers.

Written by thebeliever07

June 30, 2009 at 7:36 pm


with one comment


An email arrives from the Society of Author’s Children’s Writers And Illustrators Group. Apparently, a well-established, enormous publishing house has decided to insert the following clause into its standard contract for children’s books: “If you act or behave in a way which damages your reputation as a person suitable to work with or be associated with children, and consequently the market for or value of the work is seriously diminished, and we may (at our option) take any of the following actions: Delay publication / Renegotiate advance / Terminate the agreement.”

The publisher’s name? Ooh, that would be giving it away. Really? Oh go on then: Random House.

– Courtesy of http://www.guardian.co.uk/books


I am unsure as to which side I should land on. On the one hand, I can understand some parents being concerned. Children are very impressionable and in a society where Miss J.K. Rowling is a celebrity for having written a children’s novels, well I can see that if Miss J.K. behaved in a rather boorish or uncivilized manner, say posing on you tube with crack or making a racist comment, well I can understand the fear of such things, not something I’d want my children being exposed to.

But then, it’s a parent’s responsibility to do just that…PARENT! I believe it’s that one part of their contract that is disconcerting: “suitable“, well.. suitable for what, or whom?

What’s wrong with our society? I find it sad that our society has become so sensitive, so worried about being politically correct. There is this fear that we seem to have, that if we offend any one individual, that this is some sign of attack on that person and their culture. So rather than risk having any one individual feel hurt or god forbid, having that person face some criticism that maybe a choice they’ve made in life is not perfect, what does our society do, we sugarcoat everything so that we do not offend anyone. UGH!@$%$

Written by thebeliever07

August 1, 2008 at 8:23 am