Archive for the ‘Children’s Literature’ Category

“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!



Angela Fraser writes:

After taking a course in children’s literature this past semester, I realized that there are a lot of life lessons packed within the details of each story and the lives of the characters, many of which you hardly pick up on a kid.

As a child, when someone is reading you these books, the idea is that their lessons subtly find their way into your subconscious, that if you hear enough stories about people doing the right thing, the author will have, in a move straight out of “Inception,” taught you a moral lesson by allowing you to think that you realized it yourself. As a result, the literature that society prescribes for its children is incredibly valuable, as it teaches them the mores of a culture, from its heuristics and systems of justice, down to how you should treat your friends and even yourself.

What’s funny, though, is that a really powerful children’s book can teach even the adults reading it a lesson. Sometimes, the lesson comes from realizing just how layered with subtext these seemingly innocuous stories are—I mean, can we talk about the implications of the labor disparity between Aesop’s ant and grasshopper?

But sometimes, the value of re-reading these stories as adults comes from hearing a simple message with fresh ears. You “know” that you should work hard, treat others fairly and be true to yourself, but sometimes it helps to hear it, baldly, from a book made for children. And in my literature class, I did, dozens of times over. So, below is a condensed list of the obvious, yet not-so-obvious lessons I learned from studying novels written for children.

Lauren Child: New Children’s Laureate worried about equality in books

Lauren Child said children’s books were seen as “a poor relation” to adult literature

Boys don’t like reading books that have girls as the main characters – and that “makes it harder for girls to be equal”, says the new Children’s Laureate Lauren Child.

Child, who wrote the Charlie and Lola and Clarice Bean series, was speaking after her appointment was announced in Hull.

She is the 10th person to be the official champion of children’s books.

Child will hold the title for two years and takes over from Chris Riddell.