YA/Children's/Adult Books

Otter Perry ottertee at earthlink.net
Mon Apr 28 12:07:05 EDT 2003



> On Sunday 27 April 2003 01:28, minnow at belfry.org.uk wrote:

> > Fiction is one of the ways in which
> > our species instructs the young.  Telling stories to them about
> > things that *might happen*, nasty things, warns them of dangers
> > without having to expose them to those dangers, warns them in a safe
> > way.  If you pretend to a child that everything is nice and safe and
> > cuddly, that child is going to get some really horrid shocks when it
> > finds out that this is simply *not true*.

and Irina Rempt wrote:

> Mistake made in spades by Waldorf schools (Steiner schools? I don't know
> what they're called in English) anyway, the followers of Rudolf Steiner
> who make young children live in a "fairy-tale world" in soft sweet
> colours and, when very strict, forbid any contact with the real world
> that might scare them. They don't allow children to learn to read until
> they're seven, either. (My seven-year-olds read the Chrestomanci and
> Narnia books, the seven-year-old across the road is still on "maan roos
> vis") (sorry, little rant, but this can make me very indignant)

Waldorf schools.  I would remark, in an extremely limited defense of
Walforf schools, that learning to read late doesn't mean that the 
student doesn't read just as much.  They just read it a little later
on.  My niece went to the Detroit Waldorf School and, at age 28, is
a very major reader.

I didn't go to a Waldorf school [well, I did, but only for the last
year of secondary school], but I didn't start learning to read until
I went to primary school at age 6.  I always envied the people I met
later on that could read when they were 3 or whatever, but frankly I
don't think I missed much by waiting.

I was a terrible intellectual snob when I was in secondary school and
made a point of never reading children's books* and reading lots and
lots of books for adults.  I particularly read 'classics'.  I don't
say this was a bad thing, exactly, but the ones I didn't read until
I was older were certainly worth the wait.  My favorite example is
'War and Peace', which I didn't read until I was a senior in college.
I'm _very_ glad I didn't read it sooner, and I've read it several times
since with great pleasure.  My sister, who started trying to read it
at about age 14, has never made it through.

[* I read the Narnia books in grade 9, though, because I had a teacher
   who was a _very_ serious Lewis fan.]
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