[DWJ] Hi everyone!

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sat May 6 19:26:31 EDT 2006

>>>"after nearly thirty years of screaming I AM NOT A CHILDREN'S  WRITER,
>>>CHILDREN READ MY BOOKS, THERE'S A DIFFERENCE," [the one she's  writing
>>>at present] "may be the first genuinely YA novel I've ever  written."

Elizabeth G. Holtrop wrote
>  Thanks for the direct McKinley quote.  Is that from her web  site?  I
>usually keep up on when she's releasing something soon,  but I didn't know
>she was working on a new one!  Now I'm excited!

Not from the website, no.  The book is still slightly inchoate, as far as I
can make out, requiring a lot of gardening for thinking about it.  And her
computer died and took six days of notes with it, and then someone went and
mended it just when she had almost reached the point of thinking pencil and
paper would be the way to go...

Did you notice to whom DWJ dedicated *The Dark Lord of Derkholm*?

>  >>Who gets to decide for us all? Which set of mores is a must? Is  sex
>really so much more harmful to the child-mind than violence? Why?  Who
>says so?
>  I remember my dad reading my sister and me The Grapes of Wrath when I
>was about 8 years old.  He'd edit out the "unsuitable" content and  then
>come to tuck us into bed and tell us what he'd left out -- perhaps  from
>an attack of conscience, because he wanted us to get the whole  literary
>experience; or perhaps because he hates keeping secrets; I've  never been
>sure which.  He also read us Shakespeare, Ibsen, and my  parents took me
>and my siblings to see One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest  when I was far too
>young to understand that kind of play.  I hate  nightmares for weeks.  All
>the same, I appreciated my early  exposure to all kinds of literature and
>theatre.  I agree that  much of children's literature is very scary.
>Anyone who grew up  religious, whether they remained so or not, will often
>have frightening  memories of the wrath of God or other religious
>teachings.  Some  of the most popular children's fantasy of today, which
>incidentally has  strong religious under-
> and overtones, is the Chronicles of  Narnia.  I never had nightmares from
>those, though the content is  certainly dark at times.  But the world is a
>dark and frightening  place, and I think it would be wrong to sugar-coat
>children's  literature to reflect only soft, squishy, happy things.  What
>I  *do* believe is that the best children's literature always offers a ray
>of hope, as in the Narnia tales and what I've read of DWJ's  books.  Hope
>is possibly something children grasp better than  adults.
>  Forgive the rambles -- I'm not quite sure where I meant to go with that.

I have a feeling that you were going to end up saying pretty-much what I
occasionally go mad and say, that children being as they are simply people
with different takes on things and different levels of -- well, of
*everything* -- inbuilt in them, it might be a bit silly to try to have
hard-and-fast rules about what is "suitable" for The Child as if The Child
were a sort of collective consciousness.

This gets me into trouble every time, but I go on thinking it in a stubborn way.


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