Thursday, December 9, 2010

10th December Emily Dickinson (1810 - 1886) E.H.Shepherd (1879 - 1976) Mary Norton (1903 -1972) Rumer Godden (1907-1998) Cornelia Funke (1958)

Wow, what a long list, so I need to keep each to a minimum.

A Word

Emily Dickinson

A word is dead
When it is said,

Some say.

I say it just

Begins to live
That day.

Emily Dickinson is an American poet (and the only one I have visited the home of), who led a very quiet existence, but still managed to write very profound poetry, and is probably best known in the children's literature world for poems such as Because I Could Not Stop for Death which most students get to study somewhere in their schooling and which is included in so many anthologies.

Ernest Howard (E.H.) Shepherd was an English artist and illustrator and is best known for his illustrations of A.A.Milne's Winnie-the -Pooh books. Every child recognises those gentle black and white drawings of those so human-like animals, Pooh, Eeyore, Kanga and Tigger.

Mary Norton is the English author responsible for two series of books which have been made into very successful movies and television series and as such they have become part of nearly everyone's childhood. They are The Borrowers, a series of books about a race of small, 15cm beings who live secretly in humans houses and borrow what they need and Bedknob and Broomsticks, which came about by renaming and amalgamating two of Norton's books The Magic Bedknob or How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons and Bonfires and Broomsticks.

Rumer Godden is also an English author. She wrote novels, poetry and biographies as well as for children. At this time of year I always enjoy reading her book The Story of Holly and Ivy to young children because they are always mesmerised by the fact that Ivy, who is a similar age to them is an orphan and is alone at Christmas wandering the streets looking for a family to have Christmas with. It certainly makes children think about what Christmas is really about.

And lastly, a living author, Cornelia Funke. She is German, but now lives in USA. She is best known probably for her fantasy trilogy that began with Inkheart, and Dragon Rider, but as it is too difficult for the children I teach she is better known with my students for her Ghosthunters series and her picture books. Next Christmas it sounds like children will be watching the movie of her book, When santa fell to Earth. Reading her website, it is inspiring to read that she started her working life as a social worker and now that she is a famous author she is giving back to many childhood charities.

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