Cover of The Tiger Who Came to Tea
Yay the book chat collective is back. I love this meme.
This month’s topic is picture books. According to this New York Times article parents are no longer buying picture books for their children because they want their children reading in order to pass tests. I must admit I hate this idea, on an intellectual and a personal level. For one thing it presumes that picture books have basic language, that you can’t ever learn new words, or how to read from a picture book. Just for one example the Beatrick Potter books contain a lot of language which is quite difficult, or unusual. In fact for some of the younger children the language may be a bit too difficult unless an adult is explaining as they go. I hate his presumption. I have never seen pictures as making a book ‘easy’. Earlier picture books could maybe be told just from the pictures but in most books the pictures just support the words- the story couldn’t be told with just the words. For picture books for older children just looking at the pictures would even make a boring story, at least in my opinion. Then there are the books where the pictures are part of the story, Jacqueline Wilson’s books immediately spring to mid here, in particular Double Act and The Story of Tracy Beaker, both of which were favourites of mine around the age of 9.
As a nursery worker I can also tell you that kids do pay attention to the words in the books, running their fingers along as they make up a story for example.
On a more personal level I believe my love of books started with the picture books my Mum read me. I can still remember the stories now- and I mean the stories as much as the pictures. The Tiger Who Came to Tea, when the tiger eats all the food in the house and drinks all the water in the tap. The Alfie and Annie Rose stories. I always loved the one where Alfie got in first and all the people in the street came to help because he’s locked himself in. And there was one where he fed all the bears on his bowl breakfast, I used to copy that. And the one where he took his blanket to a party and got it covered with jelly and cake.
Then there’s my very favourite books when I was little, the Pippo books. I loved these books so much that I had to get one for my niece. I was really disappointed to find they were no longer being published, but I managed to get one off ebay, and they’re still great. I love the way that so much that Tom feels comes through Pippo. “Pippo wanted some cheese…but I ate it”
This week’s Book Chat Collective (hosted over at an-old-flame) asks can books change the world?
Just like Trina I initially thought of religious texts, whether good or bad it’s undeniable that they have had an impact on the world. Then I tried to think of other types of books. I could think of a fair few articles- Piaget’s articles on child development for example have had an impact on how we teach children- but then that’s not a book. And how about fiction books, have any of those had a big impact on the world? I suppose books like Pride and Prejudice and Romeo and Juliet have inspired generations of writers- modern takes on both stories seem to be coming out every day! So I suppose books have had an impact on the literary world. Then there are those books that may not have a giant impact on the world but have an impact on people who read them, that change their personal world. I’m sure that I would not be the same person I am today if I hadn’t read lots of the books that I’ve read. Lots of books have stuck with me- and that effects my writing style, other books have really made me think- and I’m sure that has helped form my world view, especially some of the books I read as a teenager.
The Book Chat Collective is a new meme hosted over at An Old Flame. I really like the chat about books that goes on over at An Old Flame so, even though I’m not generally a meme person, I thought this would be a really fun one to participate in.
The idea is that every week there’s a different book related topic for bloggers to blog about. You are asked to visit two other blogs (or more) and comment on their opinions (whether you agree or not) before you post your own opinions on your blog. If you want you can refer to what other bloggers have said and this helps keep the chain going.
This week’s topic: We’re at the tail end of Banned Books Week. Is there ever a reason, in your opinion, to rightfully ban a book?
Well instantly when I read the topic I thought no. I’m a big believer in freedom and I think people should be able to choose for themselves what they read or not. But then I read An Old Flame’s post on the topic, and I thought about the bad situations which could come about from a book. I disagree with her actual example, I think Salaman Rushdie might have known how controversial his book could be- and the publishers probably did too, I mean his life is at risk because of he but he could have chosen not to publish it. I can see though how books could pose some risk, and maybe that readers, publishers or even writers might not foresee how much risk. Should these be banned? Maybe, in the interests of public safety, but to say that grindes with me.
On a smaller level I can understand parents wanting to ban certain books in schools, especially as they might be compulsory reading. I think you should let your teenager read whatever they want, and maybe just make sure they understand what they are reading, but while you can advise your kids against something which is their own choice you can’t advise them against reading something that is compulsory reading for school- they have to read it whether they feel comfortable with it not. I can completely understand parents wanting to ban those sort of books from school reading lists, but I don’t think access to them should be completely banned- it’s better maybe to explain why you don’t think your kids should read the book to them and make their own decision. However in that situation I think it should be done on a case by case basis rather than banning a book from all school reading lists. Let the parents know what they’re children are reading and give them a chance to object if they want to, so you’re not giving their kids something to read that the parents don’t think is right.