Wednesday, January 26, 2011

27th January Lewis Carroll (1832 - 1898) Harry Allard (1928) Julius Lester (1939) Krista Bell (1950)

Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was better known by his pseudonym Lewis Carroll. He was an English mathematician, photographer and author, who was best known for the classic fantasy stories Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking Glass. In their day these books were considered children's literature, while today there are many who would debate this and say that they are novels in which children appear. Neither book is really accessible to my age group unless they read a very abridged version of the story or see it as a media text.

Harry Allard is the American author who together with the illustrator, James Marshall created the teacher Miss Nelson from the series that began with Miss Nelson is Missing.

Julius Lester is also an American author who worked closely with one particular illustrator, Jerry Pinkney to give American children books which showed Black American children living their lives and addressing the racial slurs of some children's books. Their book Sam and the Tigers is a retelling of Little Black Sambo and it is a means of addressing these issues. Another of his books Let's Talk About Race, is Lester's way of ensuring that children know that they are much more than their skin colour. Lester says, "I write because our lives are stories. If enough of these stories are told, then perhaps we will begin to see that our lives are the same story. The differences are merely in the details."

And Krista Bell is an Australian author who writes fiction and non-fiction, picture books, bridging novels and novels. Two of her newer books that are in my library are Peeking Ducks, a story set in China about three ducks and the importance of learning from parents. The other, Flying Feet, one of the Aussie Nibbles series is about Henry and tap dancing. A good book for convincing children that it is okay for boys to dance.

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