(8/25/04 8:20 am)
Re: Back to school...|
Some other titles you might want to consider when your child is a bit older:
Series by Ursula LeGuin. While this series is very much in the
epic Western European tradition of fantasy, the characters have
a variety of skin tones, including a darkish red and black.
Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer. This book is set
in South Africa. If I remember correctly, the main children are
white but Eye, Ear, and Arm are not.
Peter Dickinson's fantasy books sometimes feature characters of diverse races.
If you're interested in characters from diverse races and ethnicities,
but not necessarily African or African American, you could look
to Latin American writers. Isabelle
Allende has written books for teens. Nancy Farmer has also published
a dystopia for teens called The
House of the Scorpian, which is set - hmm - in a Central or
South American country, I think.
Lloyd Alexander has The
Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen, with Chinese characters and
set in China. (This would be appropriate for a 10-year-old.)
I'm about to read The
Conch Bearer by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, which I believe
is fantasy or magical realism set in India and with Indian characters.
(This would be appropriate for a 10-year-old, I think.)
I'm trying to think if there are any MG or YA equivalent to Naylor's
Day and am not coming up with anything. Maybe someone else here
I'm sure I'll think of more once I hit send. I'll try to remember to add.
(8/25/04 12:29 pm)
My apologies if someone mentioned this already, but the September
issue of Harper's Magazine has an article by Frances FitzGerald
titled The Influence of Anxiety: What's the problem with
young adult novels? It looks at the history of the genre
as a whole, rather than dwelling on Harry Potter.
(8/26/04 8:53 am)
The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm|
Nancy Farmer's The
Ear, the Eye, and the Arm features a predominantly black African
cast, including the main character a boy who is 13. It is set in
I also love Ann Cameron's Stories
Julian Tells, but they are intended for the 5-9 crowd and might
be a little too young for your son, who sounds like a precocious
(8/31/04 4:16 am)
Malorie Blackman's books are very popular over here although they
may be a little too grim for a ten year old. Her current trilogy
began with the excellent "Noughts
and Crosses". The second book in the trilogy is about hate
and is very grim but Blackman says that the last book in the trilogy
will be about hope.
Edit: That should, of course, have been a recommendation of Malorie Blackman's books not "Marjorie" as I originally posted! Tee-hee.
Edited by: Black Sheep at: 9/20/04 6:55 am
(8/31/04 2:15 pm)
Re: now that you mention it...|
[[ I respect it somewhat less then that of, say, Tamora Pierce or even Phillip Pullman ]]
I'll bite. :-) Why are you ranking Pullman below Pierce here? Isn't Lyra as good (I'd say better) hero than most of Pierce's? Certainly Pullman's HDM is better in most literary elements.
(8/31/04 2:47 pm)
subversive reading habits|
[[ As a librarian, I hope to encourage subversive reading habits.(smile) ]]
Chaucer! Rabelais! Baaaaalzac!
(8/31/04 5:16 pm)
Re: subversive reading habits|
Thanks to you all for those suggestions, I can see I will be kept busy finding those books.
Re Rabelais, I seem to recall reading tht as a young person becasue my uncle had an illustrated copy. My son would probably go for the earthy subject matter!
I was reading Lord
of the Rings in primary school, thanks to my librarian. My brother
had leant me his copy of The Hobbit, and then the school library
teacher leant me her own, hard cover set of LOTR! I have to confess,
I couldn't get through Mordor until I got my own paperback at age
15, but it wasn't for want of trying.
She also introduced me to Alan Garner & Joan Aiken, for which I am eternally grateful. Librarians rule, OK?
However, I have to add, when I started reading LOTR to my son (we
didn't get far into Book 3 either) I had to keep saying, parenthetically
"when he says black, he means their clothes ..."
(9/4/04 10:54 pm)
Re: subversive reading habits|
I'm sorry, I wasn't really recommending Balzac; I was just simpling out. :-) It was a quote from "The Music Man," a musical comedy about a subversive librarian in a prissy little town around 1900.
"Of course, I shouldn't tell you this but she advocates dirty books."
As for why they don't fire her:
"He left River City / the library building / but he left all the books to her!"
(9/20/04 3:22 pm)
I've read the books, and I've scanned through and read some of the discussion going on and even though I'm not sure of the propriety, here's my take on the whole thing.
JK Rowling is obviously British, at least as far as my limited reading
has shown me writers from the other side of the "pond",
in that she exaggerates the Jacob/Esau relationship in conjunction
with the Abused/Neglected Child slant to creating audience sympathy.
Everyone's felt neglected so it was a quick and easy way to get
the audience hooked. I seem to remember the whole Abused child thing
with guardian relatives being something British. Or maybe it was
and the Giant Peach.
In any event, in approaching the books, I was more concerned with the possibility that the mark on his forehead was the source of his power therefor starting a thought process that would encourage others to take scars or marks in the desire to also gain power. Go figure. So far, the fear hasn't played out, and honestly, if the kids are reading anything then it can be branched out to reading other things as well. The key is to start them reading something they enjoy and not associate reading negatively.
As for Hermione and the House Elves, I would like to ask the character how she would react to someone taking her books away from her because of the damage she is doing to herself by reading all the time. Obviously she needs to be out and playing actively, perhaps in some form of sports since girls need to be more active in sports anyway, and if she doesn't want to do this on her own then it is the responsibility of those adults around her to *make* her not read. Might cause her to reinterpret her methods some.
Not that I have any problems with her goals, but house elves aren't human, they need service of some sort the same way she needs books. To deny them the chance to serve is to deny them what they are. That said, they should be entitled to serve where they are respected, they should be entitled to some sort of reward system in acknowledgement for their service, and they should have equal protection under the law, and all that she *can* work towards without threatening their hunger to do what they need.
Additionally, I find in intriguing, in a linguistic sort of way, how much of the british slang is starting to creep in, slowly, as Harry himself begins to reach the age where his dialect is solidifying into the one he will use for life.
After the manner of a sidebar, I'm a writer in the East Texas area of the USA and I tend to frequent a board called The Banks of the Withywindle on ezboard and the discussion forum for the comic book/graphic novel series Elfquest that can be found on www.elfquest.com/forum . I found my way here because I'm looking into resources and discussions on fairy tales and mythology in writing because alot of it tends to creep into my work and I don't really mind. If gumballs can provide vitamins then I can write brain candy people can actually discuss.
Back to Potter. As far as parenting goes in the series, even though the Malfoys might seem to be the "best" parents in the books, they are overwhelmingly the worst, and it is because they don't really love their son. It might be an intact marriage. It might be a family of means. The father might encourage study and hard work, but it is for all the wrong reasons, and Draco can feel it if he never admits it. His father would slit his throat if he thought it would gain him favor with Voldemort, and somehow, I think the boy knows that his parents care only for how it appears to others that he is not the best in everything, that somehow everything he is good at someone else is better at.
Harry might be more traditionally abused, but Draco is the sadder child. Draco may have more money, his father more prestige, but Ron's parents actually love him and his brothers and sister, and Love is a commodity alot of children would give up all their things to have. So what if Ron's father continually breaks the law and has less than usual respect for authority? He loves his children and they know it. He's flawed, but he's a good father.
As for this toning down of bad parents and all that in books, all
I can say is that I noticed the problem years ago when just about
every film version of The
Little Princess I saw found a way to mysteriously resurrect
her father. Why *couldn't* they leave him dead? What was so wrong
about the finality of death that it had to be reversed in a horrific
betrayal of the demand for honesty that children make? Wasn't the
book good enough?
Parenthetically, some good examples of flawed and still good parenting can be found in Elfquest, which I believe is being reprinted through DC comics in a new format. The series is worth looking into since many long-term readers discovered the books in childhood or through parents. Some of the artwork is gorgeous to behold and the storytelling (given highs and lows) is still better than average even on a bad day.
Anyway, thank you for your time and your patience.