As you may know, I’m a one for taking a moment out every now and then to reflect on things. I think sometimes, especially in this golden age of children’s literature, it’s possible to become lost in the ever wondrous newness of things, and so this post is an attempt to redress that. And also it’s to share some other stuff (I know, pithiest sentence ever. I’m ill, don’t give me grief :p)
1. Representation of Children’s Books in mainstream media
Julia Donaldson wrote an excellent piece in the Daily Telegraph about how we don’t take children’s literature seriously enough. I read the comments on this piece (don’t, as one of my fabulous Twitter friends advised, ever read online comments) and wrote this in response. A few days later, the Guardian published this piece of eye-opening (and infuriating) research about the nature of reviewing and being reviewed in the print media.
I think this topic is Becoming A Bit Of A Thing for me. I know that papers like the Guardian have substantial online coverage, but it’s an attitude that does not translate into their print version. And that’s sort of my issue. It’s about breaking out of the echo-chamber, outside of the ‘children’s literature space’ and into the ‘literature space’. It’s about not housing the children’s literature, picture books, YA reviews, whatever, in a fenced and contained space at the back of the supplement, or fifteen clicks away from the main site corralled in a children’s book section, it’s about treating these books (which are the first thing your children read) with the respect and excitement and the time that they deserve. Recently the Independent announced that they’re launching a new Children’s Book blog which is very exciting and something I’ll be definitely watching. And my offer to write for the Guardian (I’ll even do my own proof-reading!) is still on.
Just in case you missed them, here are some of my most popular reviews / pieces of the last thirty days. Follow Me Down by Tanya Byrne, Pantomime by Laura Lam, two Chalet School reviews (Genius and Two Sams), and two slightly more theoretical pieces:- The Use Of Framing And Composition in Ellen and Penguin (by Clara Vulliamy) and a thing about the Complications of Being Merely Whelmed by a book. I’m hoping to do a few more ‘in-depth’ picture book reviews in the future so would welcome titles of a particularly writeable nature (I think my next may be something on the use of colour in Beegu following this lovely review over on Childtastic which made me discover this incredible book).
3. NEW CHILDREN’S LAUREATE
There was a point on Wednesday, when I fell in love with our new children’s laureate. Of course I knew how good Malorie Blackman was (I gave away copies of Noughts and Crosses for World Book Night 2013 and reviewed it here). And then I read this and saw her namecheck the Chalet School and I swooned a little bit. Malorie, if you ever fancy being interviewed about the Chalet School, you let me know okay?