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Why You Should Read Children's Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise

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Katherine Rundell – Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and prize-winning author of five novels for children – explores how children's books ignite, and can re-ignite, the imagination; how children's fiction, with its unabashed emotion and playfulness, can awaken old hungers and create new perspectives on the world. This delightful and persuasive essay is for adult reader Katherine Rundell – Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and prize-winning author of five novels for children – explores how children's books ignite, and can re-ignite, the imagination; how children's fiction, with its unabashed emotion and playfulness, can awaken old hungers and create new perspectives on the world. This delightful and persuasive essay is for adult readers. 'Rundell is the real deal, a writer of boundless gifts and extraordinary imaginative power whose novels will be read, cherished and reread long after most so-called “serious” novels are forgotten' Observer


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Katherine Rundell – Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and prize-winning author of five novels for children – explores how children's books ignite, and can re-ignite, the imagination; how children's fiction, with its unabashed emotion and playfulness, can awaken old hungers and create new perspectives on the world. This delightful and persuasive essay is for adult reader Katherine Rundell – Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and prize-winning author of five novels for children – explores how children's books ignite, and can re-ignite, the imagination; how children's fiction, with its unabashed emotion and playfulness, can awaken old hungers and create new perspectives on the world. This delightful and persuasive essay is for adult readers. 'Rundell is the real deal, a writer of boundless gifts and extraordinary imaginative power whose novels will be read, cherished and reread long after most so-called “serious” novels are forgotten' Observer

30 review for Why You Should Read Children's Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kai

    If hope is a thing with feathers, then libraries are wings.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨️ I yeet my books back and forth ✨️ Campbell

    One of the (many) things people do that pisses me off is when I give a YA or middle grade book a low rating and people are like, "What do you expect it's for CHILDREN, this review is uNfaIr." As if children should settle for less because they're children As if children don't know good stories from bad because they're children As if adults still can't enjoy the wonder and nostalgia of their youth As if adults don't sometimes get sick of stressful adult stuff and yearn for a tiny bit of hope One of the (many) things people do that pisses me off is when I give a YA or middle grade book a low rating and people are like, "What do you expect it's for CHILDREN, this review is uNfaIr." As if children should settle for less because they're children As if children don't know good stories from bad because they're children As if adults still can't enjoy the wonder and nostalgia of their youth As if adults don't sometimes get sick of stressful adult stuff and yearn for a tiny bit of hope

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sheila Beaumont

    What a delightful little book! It's short, but it contains a wealth of uplift and inspiration on how children's books rekindle the imagination and sense of wonder in adult readers. The author points out that reading children's books is not mindless escapism, not a hiding place, but a seeking place. And we should read them without shame, unlike those grownups who acquired the Harry Potter books concealed in dull, gray, "serious" covers especially issued for adults, so they could read them on the What a delightful little book! It's short, but it contains a wealth of uplift and inspiration on how children's books rekindle the imagination and sense of wonder in adult readers. The author points out that reading children's books is not mindless escapism, not a hiding place, but a seeking place. And we should read them without shame, unlike those grownups who acquired the Harry Potter books concealed in dull, gray, "serious" covers especially issued for adults, so they could read them on the bus or train without embarrassment. I have been reading children's books for a long time without embarrassment. Decades ago I realized that many of these wonderful books hadn't even been written when I was at the "right" age for them, so why should I miss out on them? If I hadn't realized this, I would have missed out on Harry Potter, Paddington Bear, Narnia, and "His Dark Materials." And books by so many of my favorite authors, such as Diana Wynne Jones, Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, Roald Dahl, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, and Eva Ibbotson. After reading this book, I find myself hoping that others will be encouraged to dip into children's books and discover what they've been missing.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Canadian Reader

    “If I had a serious brain injury I might well write a children’s book,” Martin Amis once said when asked if he’d ever thought of writing for younger readers. He added that writing for kids would force him to write “at a lower register” than the level at which he was capable of writing. Katherine Rundell duly notes Amis’s disdain for children’s literature as it is so much in keeping with people’s indulgent and mildly dismissive response to her when she tells them what she does for a living. There “If I had a serious brain injury I might well write a children’s book,” Martin Amis once said when asked if he’d ever thought of writing for younger readers. He added that writing for kids would force him to write “at a lower register” than the level at which he was capable of writing. Katherine Rundell duly notes Amis’s disdain for children’s literature as it is so much in keeping with people’s indulgent and mildly dismissive response to her when she tells them what she does for a living. There’s “a particular smile that some people give,” she says, “roughly the same smile I’d expect had I told them I make miniature bathroom furniture out of matchboxes, for the elves.” However, as Rundell goes on to reflect in her little—literally 4” X 5”— book: “the human heart is not a linear train ride”. She says there’s a general sense among adults that we should always be progressing, but we actually don’t turn to books of increasing difficulty and complexity. That’s where children’s literature comes in. The best works of literature for the young, she intimates, aren’t just for them. “Children’s fiction necessitates distillation” rendering “in their purest, most archetypal forms hope, hunger, joy, fear.” Children don’t tolerate authorial pontificating, meandering, and self congratulation, so when authors, including Rundell herself, write for them, they use fewer words to put down the things they want children to know (arming them for life) . . . and adults to remember: “that there are and always will be great, sustaining truths to which we can return.” I can’t argue with any of this, and while it was nice to see this and other ideas written down, I was still disappointed with this very slight book, which ultimately amounts to a Christmas stocking stuffer for the already converted—i.e., those who know children’s literature is not some lesser form of writing. I wished the book had provided more examples to flesh out the ways high quality children’s books can remind us (without being preachy or didactic) of enduring truths and the magic of being alive.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mathew

    A wonderful essay that celebrates the importance of children's literature in the lives of everyone no matter their age. Rundells covers a lot in this little piece - the origins of children's literature, its place in society now and the power it has to affect us even if we are no longer, officially, a child. Having read many books on the history and politics of children's literature, I felt that Rundell gave an excellent little introduction to the whole range of reading and will, I hope, inspire A wonderful essay that celebrates the importance of children's literature in the lives of everyone no matter their age. Rundells covers a lot in this little piece - the origins of children's literature, its place in society now and the power it has to affect us even if we are no longer, officially, a child. Having read many books on the history and politics of children's literature, I felt that Rundell gave an excellent little introduction to the whole range of reading and will, I hope, inspire others to head off in search of its rich history and past.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gavin

    A great 63-page essay on why adults should not be ashamed to read children’s books - something that I think a lot of people should read. I would have loved this to go into more detail than it did as I feel like so many points were rushed over and a lot of fantastic points were so close to being perfect but just missing by a fraction, and the whole point of why adults should read children’s books is, at times, buried beneath context that is also brushed over. Understandable in such a short text b A great 63-page essay on why adults should not be ashamed to read children’s books - something that I think a lot of people should read. I would have loved this to go into more detail than it did as I feel like so many points were rushed over and a lot of fantastic points were so close to being perfect but just missing by a fraction, and the whole point of why adults should read children’s books is, at times, buried beneath context that is also brushed over. Understandable in such a short text but I would have loved it if this was longer.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Claude's Bookzone

    3.5 Stars I think the sentiments in this book are best summed up by this quote: "Children's fiction does something else too: it offers to help us refind things we may not even know we have lost. Adult life is full of forgetting; I have forgotten most of the people I have ever met; I've forgotten most of the books I've read, even the ones that changed me forever; I've forgotten most of my epiphanies. And I've forgotten, at various time in my life, how to read: how to lay aside scepticism and fashio 3.5 Stars I think the sentiments in this book are best summed up by this quote: "Children's fiction does something else too: it offers to help us refind things we may not even know we have lost. Adult life is full of forgetting; I have forgotten most of the people I have ever met; I've forgotten most of the books I've read, even the ones that changed me forever; I've forgotten most of my epiphanies. And I've forgotten, at various time in my life, how to read: how to lay aside scepticism and fashion and trust myself to a book. At the risk of sounding like a mad optimist: children's fiction can reteach you how to read with an open heart. When you read children's books, you are given the space to read again as a child: to find your way back, back to the time when discoveries came daily and the world was colossal, before your imagination was trimmed and neatened, as if it were an optional extra" Nuff said.

  8. 4 out of 5

    jenny✨

    Children’s books say: the world is huge. They say: hope counts for something. They say: bravery will matter, wit will matter, empathy will matter, love will matter. quick, clever, and lovely: this 63-page essay is smol but mighty in its advocacy for reading children’s books! rundell writes clearly and with delicious precision; i highlighted many phrases that nourished my soul, and that underscored the imaginative and political potential within children’s stories.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Most people, Rundell thinks, perceive children’s literature as a first stage in their evolution as a reader: it is to be gradually but firmly replaced with adult literature, and never revisited. But of course, as this standalone essay’s terrific title tells you, she believes such a decision would be shortsighted because children’s books have come a long way from the didactic texts they were in the 15th to 18th centuries and are now as magical, subversive and hopeful as anything marketed to adult Most people, Rundell thinks, perceive children’s literature as a first stage in their evolution as a reader: it is to be gradually but firmly replaced with adult literature, and never revisited. But of course, as this standalone essay’s terrific title tells you, she believes such a decision would be shortsighted because children’s books have come a long way from the didactic texts they were in the 15th to 18th centuries and are now as magical, subversive and hopeful as anything marketed to adults. Fairy tales and myths, far from being trivial, are central to our literature and have to be constantly reinterpreted. Rundell also makes a plea for libraries, remembering how important the children’s section of the Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe public library was to her when she was growing up. Favorite lines: “children’s fiction necessitates distillation: at its best, it renders in their purest, most archetypal forms hope, hunger, joy, fear. Think of children’s books as literary vodka.” “it’s to children’s fiction that you turn if you want to feel awe and hunger and longing for justice: to make the old warhorse heart stamp again in its stall.” (the last lines) “Children’s novels, to me, spoke, and still speak, of hope. They say: look this is what bravery looks like. This is what generosity looks like. They tell me, through the medium of wizards and lions and talking spiders, that this world we live in is a world of people who tell jokes and work and endure. Children’s books say: the world is huge. They say: hope counts for something. They say: bravery will matter, wit will matter, empathy will matter, love will matter. These things may or may not be true. I do not know. I hope they are. I think it is urgently necessary to hear them and to speak them.”

  10. 4 out of 5

    Veronique

    4.5* I already love reading children’s book, and even chose a module on this topic when I studied for my English lit degree, so why would I try this essay? Well, I wanted to see what arguments the author came up with, and although this is a very short read, I did enjoy it. Rundell puts forward lots of great points but due to the format doesn’t dwell as much as I would have liked on them. Mind you, this is probably just enough to tempt readers to widen their horizons - if they’re willing, that is. 4.5* I already love reading children’s book, and even chose a module on this topic when I studied for my English lit degree, so why would I try this essay? Well, I wanted to see what arguments the author came up with, and although this is a very short read, I did enjoy it. Rundell puts forward lots of great points but due to the format doesn’t dwell as much as I would have liked on them. Mind you, this is probably just enough to tempt readers to widen their horizons - if they’re willing, that is. Her point on libraries did echo the ones Gaiman forwarded in Art Matters. Both touch on the main reason I come back: the sense of wonder. I still love feeling wonder, and plenty of adults do too, as can be seen by the popularity of Harry Potter and His Dark Materials. Part of the problem is this weird genre hierarchy, supposedly based on quality. It is something that annoys me enormously, and not just because I’m omnivorous in my reading. If you like reading one kind of stories, fine; if you like a variety, fine. There is no need to deprecate other genres, or people’s tastes. I live in hope. In the meantime, I’m going to check Rundell’s novels :0)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    A distilled tonic of a book that you can read in just a couple of hours. Filled with peps of inspiration about fairytales, nursery food, book memories and how we can recapture all those things in the books we write and read for children. If you're a librarian, teacher, or children's book reader, or writer, it will inspire you to read more of all the wonderful children's books out there. To think about how and why they were written, and remember the child you were when you first read them. A distilled tonic of a book that you can read in just a couple of hours. Filled with peps of inspiration about fairytales, nursery food, book memories and how we can recapture all those things in the books we write and read for children. If you're a librarian, teacher, or children's book reader, or writer, it will inspire you to read more of all the wonderful children's books out there. To think about how and why they were written, and remember the child you were when you first read them.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Himanshu Karmacharya

    As someone who loves reading children's books, (and is relatively older, but not wise enough) I found this essay to be delightful. The author makes some really valid points, but I wished it was longer and the idea explored with more depth. As someone who loves reading children's books, (and is relatively older, but not wise enough) I found this essay to be delightful. The author makes some really valid points, but I wished it was longer and the idea explored with more depth.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    Favourite quote “Children’s books are not a hiding place, they are a seeking place.”

  14. 5 out of 5

    Liam Owens

    Why You Should Read Children's Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise is a book that every grown-up needs to read. At about 60 pages, it's more of an essay than a book - but don't be fooled by its brevity; in this short space, Katherine Rundell expertly guides the reader through the many facets of children's literature - its origins in the early 18th century, the Golden Age of children's literature responsible for producing classics like The Chronicles of Narnia, Peter Pan and The Jungle Why You Should Read Children's Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise is a book that every grown-up needs to read. At about 60 pages, it's more of an essay than a book - but don't be fooled by its brevity; in this short space, Katherine Rundell expertly guides the reader through the many facets of children's literature - its origins in the early 18th century, the Golden Age of children's literature responsible for producing classics like The Chronicles of Narnia, Peter Pan and The Jungle Book (where didacticism was put aside in favour of adventure, friendship and imagination), through to the radical, politically charged modern masterpieces being published today. As a children's bookseller with a degree in children's literature, Rundell's argument that children's books are for adults as much as children is one I endorse entirely. Not a day goes by where I'm not trying to convince customers to get lost in the magic of children's books - whether it's escaping to the fantastical worlds of Jessica Townsend's Nevermoor and Abi Elphinstone's Erkenwald, or delving into more hard-hitting subjects like the refugee crisis and racial inequality in The Boy At the Back of the Class and The Hate U Give. There are wonders to be found within the pages of children's books and I hope that this book might help you seen them in a new light. Though, a piece of cautionary advice: once you dive into the rabbit-hole of children's literature it's rather tricky to get back out...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Beth Bonini

    When I write, I write for two people: myself, age twelve, and myself, now, and the book has to satisfy two distinct but connected appetites. My twelve-year-old self wanted autonomy, peril, justice, food, and above all a kind of density of atmosphere into which I could step and be engulfed. My adult self wants all those things, and also: acknowledgements of fear, love, failure; of the rat that lives within the human heart. Rundell writes so beautifully, and this is perhaps my favourite of the When I write, I write for two people: myself, age twelve, and myself, now, and the book has to satisfy two distinct but connected appetites. My twelve-year-old self wanted autonomy, peril, justice, food, and above all a kind of density of atmosphere into which I could step and be engulfed. My adult self wants all those things, and also: acknowledgements of fear, love, failure; of the rat that lives within the human heart. Rundell writes so beautifully, and this is perhaps my favourite of the ‘5 star’ passages in this book. The problem is that this book reads a bit more like a promising outline than a conclusive thesis. I know that its small size (as big as a hand) suggests brevity, but it skips around the topic in a somewhat disjointed way - equal parts Rundell’s reading development and then unrelated offshoots like the topic of ‘Politics’ in children’s literature. It feels undeveloped, and never adds up to a satisfying sum of its sometimes brilliant parts. As an aside: I’m already convinced that children’s literature (the best of it, anyway) is good for all ages. In other words, she is just ‘preaching to the choir’ as far as I’m concerned. I do, wonder, though, if this slight book is enough to convince skeptics and naysayers. (Martin Amis, for instance)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lesa

    There's a recent bestseller called What We Talk About When We Talk About Books. I tried to read it, and gave up because it was too pedantic for me. I much preferred a little book by Katherine Rundell, Why You Should Read Children's Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise. I'm going to ask you a question. Think about it, and you can answer at the end of the blog, when I give you my own answer. If you loved to read as a child, do you remember diving into a book that became your whole world? Thos There's a recent bestseller called What We Talk About When We Talk About Books. I tried to read it, and gave up because it was too pedantic for me. I much preferred a little book by Katherine Rundell, Why You Should Read Children's Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise. I'm going to ask you a question. Think about it, and you can answer at the end of the blog, when I give you my own answer. If you loved to read as a child, do you remember diving into a book that became your whole world? Those are the books I read, and never heard my mother talk to me. That book was my world while I read it. Here's the actual question. What's the last book that sucked you in that way? Can you still escape into a book? Rundell quotes W.H. Auden. "There are good books which are only for adults, because their comprehension presupposes adult experiences, but there are no good books which are only for children." Rundell says there are times in life when reading children's books might be the only thing that will do. She mentions our current times of Brexit and Trump, politics, racism, immigration issues, and says now is such a time for her. I had a time like that years ago. When I was twenty-two I was waiting to hear about a job I desperately wanted. The only books that I could read were Nancy Drew mysteries. They were escapism, but also about a strong, independent young woman. She asks what it's like to read as a child. I shared what she calls "the headlong, hungry, immersive quality of it." She said her need for books was "sharp and urgent, and furious if thwarted". Rundell, an award-winning British author, then looks at fairy tales, stories recognized in various forms since 1900 B.C. I immersed myself in those, The Blue Fairy Tale Book, The Red Fairy Tale Book. She says fairy tales are violent and bloody and unjust, and don't shield children or adults from that world, but a fairy godmother or a magic tree or a magician appears, and offers hope. She quotes Angela Carter as saying the fairy godmother means "heroic optimism". I could go on, but Rundell's message is that "Children's books say: the world is huge. They say: hope counts for something. They say: bravery will matter, wit will matter, empathy will matter, love will matter." She admits she doesn't know if that's true, but it's the message people have been passing on for centuries. This is a meaty little book. I bought my copy, and it's a book to come back to once in a while. That brings me back to my original question. If you were one of those readers who dove into a book, what's the last time you found such a book? Some of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books took me into that world, and I never looked up until I finished. I read each of them straight through in one day. Today, my answer would be one of Louise Penny's Armand Gamache books. They're the only books that take me to Three Pines, into Gamache's world. And, like fairy tales, those are stories of good and evil, darkness versus light. What is the last book that took you into a world where you actually lived?

  17. 5 out of 5

    avaa

    I hope some of yall adults can read this book and learn to stop rating ya books low bc they were too childish or not dark enough...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lauren James

    An essay - or, rather, a love letter - to childrens books and writing for children. It made me very proud to be an author for teenagers.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    This insightful and beautifully written essay fits into a slim 63-page hardback but contains as many worthy gems as many a longer study. In nearly a dozen sections Katherine Rundell, herself a children's author, makes a powerful case for juvenile fiction not being inferior to adult fiction but worthy in its own right; and, more than that, it can offer what much adult fiction can't or won't. The author tries to put her finger on what those qualities are and, in my opinion, pretty much succeeds. Al This insightful and beautifully written essay fits into a slim 63-page hardback but contains as many worthy gems as many a longer study. In nearly a dozen sections Katherine Rundell, herself a children's author, makes a powerful case for juvenile fiction not being inferior to adult fiction but worthy in its own right; and, more than that, it can offer what much adult fiction can't or won't. The author tries to put her finger on what those qualities are and, in my opinion, pretty much succeeds. All this review will aim to do is to give a flavour of the main points she enumerates. First she emphasises that children's fiction is "not exclusively for children" as anybody who conscientiously reads this literature without being the target audience can confirm. Yet there are those so wedded to a false concept of 'progress' that they will think that kids lit is of less worth than adult fiction. As the author says, there is a place for fart jokes, dinosaur facts and diaphonous fairies, but there is more to this genre than these kinds of topics. Four sections provide an overview of the history of children's fiction down to today and celebrate the immersiveness of childhood reading and the genre's intrinsic values: 'wild hungers' and, in Angela Carter's marvellous phrase, 'heroic optimism'. This last was in reference to the message that many fairytales (and fiction using fairytale tropes) provide what Rundell calls "the miracle of hope". She correctly points out that fairytales "were never just for children" and that by providing a message of hope they speak to all ages, especially during times when it's all too easy to despair from a sense of powerlessness. Shen then has a section on politics -- not party politics but this very issue of a balance of power. Children's fiction, she declares, was and is "specifically written to be read by a section of society without political or economic power," and its messages, often more hidden than explicit, can be mildly subversive if not dangerous. (In a good way, of course.) She later has strong words to say about a lack of diversity in UK publications for young readers, pointing out that though a little over 31% of school children are from minority ethnic origins, just 4% of books issued in a recent year featured BAME characters. Her next focus is on imagination in kids' books, for reading them "can teach us not just what we have forgotten but what we have forgotten we have forgotten." More than that, book say something essential: they say "hope counts for something." The miracle of hope fairytales provide is present in good literature, a counterblast to all that is ugly in life. Nil desperandum is what they whisper, and sometimes even shout. And the place to find this hope, distilled into compact form? The library of course, the place so despised by law makers that they deprive it of funds, thus depriving young minds of hope. Rundell finishes off her impassioned plea with a final powerful truth: So defy those who would tell you to be serious, to calculate the profit of your imagination... Ignore those who would call it mindless escapism: it's not escapism: it is findism. Say it loud, then: Children's books are not a hiding place, they are a seeking place. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a scoundrel.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    “Children’s novels...spoke and still speak of hope. They say: look, this is what bravery looks like. This is what generosity looks like. They tell me, through the medium of wizards and lions and talking spiders, that this world we live in is a world of people who tell jokes and work and endure. Children’s books say: the world is huge. They say: hope counts for something. They say: bravery will matter, wit will matter, empathy will matter, love will matter. These things may or may not be true. I “Children’s novels...spoke and still speak of hope. They say: look, this is what bravery looks like. This is what generosity looks like. They tell me, through the medium of wizards and lions and talking spiders, that this world we live in is a world of people who tell jokes and work and endure. Children’s books say: the world is huge. They say: hope counts for something. They say: bravery will matter, wit will matter, empathy will matter, love will matter. These things may or may not be true. I do not know. I hope they are. I think it is urgently necessary to hear them and to speak them.” “I still find libraries astonishing; I still think they speak to our better instincts. The library remains one of the few places in the world where you don’t have to buy anything, know anyone or believe anything to enter in.” Elena Ferrante calls fiction “a fishing net that captures daily experiences, holds them imaginatively, and connects them to fundamental questions about the human condition.” Scene from 1949 movie Adam’s Rib: Katherine Hepburn questions her secretary about the moral double stands of the day. Her secretary says, “I don’t make the rules.” “Sure you do,” says Hepburn. “We All do.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Luana

    Those who write for children are trying to arm them for the life ahead with everything we can find that is true. And perhaps, also, secretly, to arm adults against those necessary compromises and necessary heartbreaks that life involves: to remind them that there are and always will be great, sustaining truths to which we can return. Within just a small package, this encapsulated an entertaining exploration of children's literature, from its historical roots, going all the way back to fairytales Those who write for children are trying to arm them for the life ahead with everything we can find that is true. And perhaps, also, secretly, to arm adults against those necessary compromises and necessary heartbreaks that life involves: to remind them that there are and always will be great, sustaining truths to which we can return. Within just a small package, this encapsulated an entertaining exploration of children's literature, from its historical roots, going all the way back to fairytales where "hope is sharper than teeth", to a glorious diverse discovery of today's works. During this journey we delve into the subversive politics that can be found even in the classics, and the untrammelled imagination of an "open heart" and mind encouraged in the pages of children's books. Rundell includes her own personal history and experiences with children's books in a way that integrates with the exposition and gives a window into the author's own life and thoughts in an engaging way. Ignore those who would call it escapism: it’s not escapism: it is findism. Children’s books are not a hiding place, they are a seeking place. There is so much affection, wit and information that fitted into these 63 pages that it is sign of just how good the editing is. WYSRCBETYASOAW was also full of quotable moments and it turned into such a 'want to keep' book that I ended up buying it after returning my library copy. If hope is a thing with feathers, then libraries are wings.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    This is an essay published as a small book. It deserves to be a book because the theme is so important, and the author makes the point so convincingly. She is writing in the context of a new era which includes Brexit, a childish president in the US, and a world that often makes less sense every day. Rundell writes books for children : “… what I try for when I write …is to put down in as few words as I can the things that I most urgently and desperately want children to know and adults to remembe This is an essay published as a small book. It deserves to be a book because the theme is so important, and the author makes the point so convincingly. She is writing in the context of a new era which includes Brexit, a childish president in the US, and a world that often makes less sense every day. Rundell writes books for children : “… what I try for when I write …is to put down in as few words as I can the things that I most urgently and desperately want children to know and adults to remember”. As a writer of fiction for children, she is often dismissed as “less than” someone who writes for adults. Rundell says “At the risk of sounding like a mad optimist: children’s fiction can reteach you how to read with an open heart”. This is a book for everyone. Not just teachers. Not just parents. Everyone.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Zulfa

    As an avid reader of children's books (and actually dream to write one someday), I must say this book really celebrates all my quirks and deep-rooted hatred toward adults who don't read children's books simply because it's nothing but shallow non-sense. I even had a list of people in my brain who I thought should really read this essay to prove my arguments on children's books. I mean, c'mon, do you prefer to have Kierkegaard-esque existentialist thoughts rather than the otherworldly imagination As an avid reader of children's books (and actually dream to write one someday), I must say this book really celebrates all my quirks and deep-rooted hatred toward adults who don't read children's books simply because it's nothing but shallow non-sense. I even had a list of people in my brain who I thought should really read this essay to prove my arguments on children's books. I mean, c'mon, do you prefer to have Kierkegaard-esque existentialist thoughts rather than the otherworldly imagination of Charlie's chocolate factory to cheer your deathbed? Geez. I couldn't stress enough the importance of reading children's books and its effect on imagination, something today's adult seems to be lacking of. We live in a world that appreciates a pose of exhausted knowingness, that we must know everything. Little did we know that children's books allow ourselves to feel unknowingness in facing what's ahead, be it fire-breathing monster or inevitable cruel stepmother. It's like celebrating the unsophisticated awe of not knowing anything, which is very normal for human. This essay doesn't only highlight the importance of reading children's books for people of all ages, it also discusses its development in its most ancient form; fairytales, legends and myths. I grew up in a community with strong tradition to inherit fairytales as the way to preserve and trace culture. They live, breathe and change as they've been told over the generations. They work in mysterious ways to remind us that there are certain values to be kept as the basic foundation of life. Justice, generosity, love and passion are among the values. As I reached the end of this essay in two commuting trips, I came to think of a question; Do you still remember the excitement you felt when you read your first book when you were a kid? It's crystal clear in my mind that the first book I read with joy was Doraemon adventure comic, something I still read to this day. I remember how deeply-immersed I was that warmth grew in my heart (and eyes, tbh). I want you to feel the same, to awake the inner child inside you and feel alive once again. Quoted from the book, children's books can reteach you how to read with an open heart . They do, indeed.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Fi's Journey

    "Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words." - Ursula LeGuin What is Children's Literature about and what does it teaches us - all of us? "Those who write for children are trying to arm them for the life ahead with everything we can find that is true." "It's not escapism, its findism." Hope. That's what I always thought Children's Literature was about: Hope. It teaches us never to give up and believe in the impossible. I think (just realised this!) that's "Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words." - Ursula LeGuin What is Children's Literature about and what does it teaches us - all of us? "Those who write for children are trying to arm them for the life ahead with everything we can find that is true." "It's not escapism, its findism." Hope. That's what I always thought Children's Literature was about: Hope. It teaches us never to give up and believe in the impossible. I think (just realised this!) that's the main reason why I read and love Children Books. I'm glad to know there are other people who think like me and don't shame Children Books. They tend to have better messages than Young Adult/Adult books I've read so far. I always thought that there is something to be learned from Children and Adults. I wish both could meet and see what beauty and wonder there is in both!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Isabelle Bradbury

    “When I write, I write for two people: myself, age twelve, and myself, now, and the book has to satisfy two distinct but connected appetites.” This small but powerful book is filled with words of wisdom. It’s one of those treasures that you want to share with everyone. I especially loved the section about fairytales! “Refuse unflinchingly to be embarrassed: and in exchange you get the second star to the right, and straight on till morning.”

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ellie (faerieontheshelf)

    I shall be dropping this into the hands of everyone who asks me why I'm reading children's books in future I shall be dropping this into the hands of everyone who asks me why I'm reading children's books in future

  27. 4 out of 5

    Norah Al Kasabi

    Such a hopeful little book! Basically rich stories are for everyone regardless of age.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mihaela Sorlea Tentis

    Beautiful and insightful- a short essay about the importance of reading children's books without feeling ashamed and it contains surprising statistics about - "only 4% of books published/ year had any character who were black, Asian or minority ethnic but that 31.2% of school children are from minority ethnic origin". A must read. "Children's books are not a hiding place, they are a seeking place". Beautiful and insightful- a short essay about the importance of reading children's books without feeling ashamed and it contains surprising statistics about - "only 4% of books published/ year had any character who were black, Asian or minority ethnic but that 31.2% of school children are from minority ethnic origin". A must read. "Children's books are not a hiding place, they are a seeking place".

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laura Angell

    A lovely short essay on the importance of having both an open mind and an open heart when it comes to reading children's books as an adult. As someone who enjoys reading books that my peers would deem too childish, I found the passion and conviction Katherine Rundell writes with to be very moving and powerful. A lovely short essay on the importance of having both an open mind and an open heart when it comes to reading children's books as an adult. As someone who enjoys reading books that my peers would deem too childish, I found the passion and conviction Katherine Rundell writes with to be very moving and powerful.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pocketmouse

    A Christmas stocking gift from Santa Papa last December 25th, finally read it (tbh for me reading something, even an 80 page mini book, within a year of getting it is impressive such is my TBR mountain). Rundell makes good points - children's literature is, historically, vastly more creative and imaginative than adult fiction; good authors don't talk down to their readers; fairytales are great. But I think most of us who are avid readers know it already - children's books aren't something you pu A Christmas stocking gift from Santa Papa last December 25th, finally read it (tbh for me reading something, even an 80 page mini book, within a year of getting it is impressive such is my TBR mountain). Rundell makes good points - children's literature is, historically, vastly more creative and imaginative than adult fiction; good authors don't talk down to their readers; fairytales are great. But I think most of us who are avid readers know it already - children's books aren't something you put down once you pass a certain age or reading level, you just expand your repertoire. Moomins and Maupassant.

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