Archive for the ‘Children’s Literature’ Category

Read like a girl: how children’s books of female stories are booming

Alison Flood writes:

Studies in the past have found that children’s books are dominated by male characters, that history books are overrun by male authors writing about male figures, and that literary fiction is less likely to win a prize if it focuses on a female character.

A new wave of books aimed at children might just be doing its small bit to change that. Thousands of little girls – boys as well, but likely mainly girls – will be settling down for bed this evening with a new kind of bedtime story, one in which the heroines are not fictional, but real. From Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls to Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World, sales of books about inspirational women have boomed this year – and look set to grow.

Kate Pankhurst – a distant relative of the suffragette Emmeline – has sold more than 52,000 copies of her guide to the Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World, according to book sales monitor Nielsen BookScan. Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, meanwhile, didn’t have high expectations when they launched a Kickstarter last year for Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls, which tells the stories of 100 “extraordinary” women, from Malala Yousafzai to Michelle Obama. They wanted to raise $40,000 (£31,000), and to print 1,000 copies. But their Kickstarter became the most-funded publishing campaign on the site, raising more than $1m. The self-published book has since sold more than 500,000 copies around the world.

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Children’s Classics TBR/ Video.

Jakob Tanner presents Children’s Classics TBR/ Video.

“North Korean children’s books and cartoons proved to be often entertaining, colourful…”

‘The power of redemptive violence’ … Kim Jong-il’s Boys Wipe Out Bandits

Alison Flood writes:

Researching his PhD, (Christopher) Richardson said he was surprised to discover “that children’s literature was so central to the DPRK’s conception of itself that its leaders had taken the time (even if only with the assistance of ghost writers) to pen treatises to its importance” – Kim Jong-il also wrote about how Children’s Literature Must Be Created in a Way Best Suited to Children’s Psychological Features – “and even to write stories for themselves”.

He was also, he told the Guardian, surprised to find the stories themselves were “quite enjoyable”. “I was astounded that children’s books (purportedly) written by Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung were vastly more readable than one would expect from any political leader in the democratic west, still less a severe authoritarian,” he said. “North Korean children’s books and cartoons proved to be often entertaining, colourful, action-packed, and not so different to children’s books and cartoons anywhere.”

He said that when he has shown his collection of North Korean children’s books to defectors, “their response has usually been to recall that whilst enjoying the more colourful and adventurous tales as children, they were not so interested in overtly militaristic and political stories”.

But “nevertheless, despite the variety of genre and style” in the books, “there always remained that singular unity of intent, reinforcing a consistent political message, fostering revolutionary consciousness, national cohesion, ideological purity, and reverence for Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, and now Kim Jong-un,” said Richardson.

So far, Kim Jong-un has not – as far as Richardson can tell – written his own children’s book, but he anticipates it won’t be long until North Korea’s latest leader steps into the children’s literature arena.

The definitive list of the most underrated Harry Potter characters

Anna Leszkiewicz writes:

Yes, we know, you love Neville, and Professor McGonagall and Nymphadora Tonks. But what about the unsung heroes of the Potter series? Here, New Statesman staff make the case for their personal, obscure favourites from the books.

The Kids’ Books You Wish More People Remembered

Sommer Mathis writes:

A WEEK AGO, WE ASKED you to tell us about the obscure books you read as a kid that have stuck with you, but that hardly anyone else seems to remember. As it turned out, Atlas Obscura readers have a lot to say on this subject. All together, we received more than 900 responses. Below, the editors have compiled our favorites. Please accept our apologies if we weren’t able to include yours—there were simply too many to share them all. Enjoy!