- I was driving the other day and listening to the morning show on Radio 2. Chris Evans. Chat. You know the sort of thing. One of the recurrent items on the show is ‘Top Tenuous’ : tenuous claims to fame on a particular topic. They were celebrating the 70th birthday of BBC Woman’s Hour and had decided to make a Top Tenuous on the theme of Men in Woman’s Hour. Because they “wanted to be in on the action” as well.
- Mental illness has soared amongst the young women of the United Kingdom.
- “When you’re a star they let you do it”
- Five out of six Australian girls believe they do not have the same chances in life as boys.
- “This year girls and young women told us that they feel held back by gender stereotypes, sexism, and anxiety about how they look”
I am so mad some days, so mad.
I believe in using your voice to make a difference where you can. Impacting the world where you can. Making a choice. Making a decision. “Activating yourself”
I am a specialist in children’s and young adult literature. It’s articles like this that make me determined to not restrict space on my shelves or on this blog or in the world. I don’t ban, I don’t restrict content, I don’t take books away from those who need them the most and can’t even yet verbalise that need. I facilitate access to literature. I facilitate access to liberation.
Don’t ever, ever, turn to me and tell me that children’s books don’t matter. These books build childhoods, shape them and make people out of them. Read whatever you want but read it critically, bravely, angrily, foolishly. Accept the problems but let yourself enjoy it nevertheless. Read books where you’re rescued or where you’re doing the rescuing. Read books by voices different, voices same, voices other. Read, read, just read, and never be afraid of being the bookish one, the one who reads.
Reading and talking and articulating your narrative challenges this constant urge on the part of somebody to erase your experience. To erase your voice. To erase the validity of self, the importance of you, the wonder of you.
Reading is power, even when the world seems determined to not let you have it.