Purpose Of The Children’s Literature
Trevor: Hello, Stephanie. You said you wanted to talk about the course I’m taking on literature of her children.
Stephanie: That’s right. I’m thinking of doing it next year, but I’d like to find out more about it first.
Trevor: Okay, well, as you probably know, it’s a one year course. It’s divided into six modules, and you have to take all of them. One of the most interesting ones, for me at least, was about the purpose of children’s literature.
Stephanie: You mean whether it should just entertain children or should be educational as well,
Trevor: right on DH, whether the teaching should be factual, giving them information about the world or ethical teaching them values. hat’s fascinating is that the writer isn’t necessarily conscious of the message they’re conveying. For instance, a storey might show a child who has a problem as a result of not doing what an adult has told them to do, implying that children should always obey adults.
Stephanie: I see what you mean.
Trevor: That module made me realise how important storeys are. They can have a significant effect on children as they grow up. Actually, it inspired me to have a go at it myself just for my own interest. I know I can’t compete with the really popular storeys like the Harry Potter books. They’re very good, and even young kids like my seven year old niece love reading them.
Stephanie: I’m very interested in illustrations in storeys. Is that covered in the course?
Trevor: Yes, there’s a module on pictures on how they’re sometimes central to the storey.
Stephanie: That’s good. I remember some frightening ones I saw as a child, and I can still see them vividly in my mind. Two years later, peaches can be so powerful, just as powerful as words. I’ve always enjoyed drawing, so that’s the field I want to go into when I finish the course. I bet that module will be really helpful.
Trevor: I’m sure it will. We also studied comics in that module, but I’m not convinced of their value not compared with books One of the great things about words is that you use your imagination, but with a comic you don’t have to.
Stephanie: But children are so used to visual input on TV, video games and so on. There are plenty of kids. You wouldn’t even try to read a book, so I think comics conserve a really useful purpose.
Trevor: You mean it’s better to read a comic than not to read at all? Yes, I suppose you’re right. I just think it’s sad when children don’t read books.
Stephanie: What about books for girls on books for boys? Does the course go into that?
Trevor: Yes, there’s a module on it. For years, lots of storeys in English at least assumed that boys went out and did adventurous things, and girls stayed at home and played with dolls. I was amazed how many books were targeted at just one sex or the other. Of course, this reflects society as it is when the books are written.
Stephanie: That’s true. So it sounds as though you think it’s a good course.
Trevor: Have you been reading lots of children’s storeys to help you decide whether to take the course?
Stephanie: Yeah, have gone as far back in the late 17th century, though I know there were earlier children’s storeys.
Trevor: So does that mean you read Perot’s fairytales, Cinderella, the Sleeping Beauty and so on?
Stephanie: Yes, they must be important because no storeys of that type had been written before. These were the first. And then there’s the Swiss family Robinson.
Trevor: I haven’t read that
Stephanie: the English name makes it sound, So Robinson is the family surname. But a more accurate translation would be the Swiss Robinsons because it’s about a Swiss family who was shipwrecked like Robinson Crusoe in the novel of a century earlier. Well,
Trevor: I never
Stephanie: knew that. Have you read Hoffman’s The Nutcracker in The Mouse King?
Trevor: Wasn’t that the basis for Tchaikovsky’s ballet than that?
Stephanie: That’s right. It has been quite a bizarre elements.
Trevor: I hope you’ve read Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince. It’s probably my favourite children’s storey of all time.
Stephanie: Ah, mine, too, on it so surprising because World is best known for his place on most of them are very witty, but the Happy Prince is really moving. I struggled with Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, three long books and I gave up after one. It’s extremely
Trevor: popular, though.
Stephanie: Yeah, but where is something like the Happy Prince just carried me along with it. The Lord of the Rings took more effort than I was prepared to give it. I didn’t find
Trevor: that. I love it.
Stephanie: Mmm. Another one I’ve read is War Horse.
Trevor: Oh, yes. It’s about the first World War, isn’t it? Hardly what you’d expect for a children’s storey.
Stephanie: Exactly, But it’s