Philip Pullman was on Radio 4 this morning being asked whether children were being encouraged to read 'serious' books. God, I hate that. Philip Pullman replied that it would have been a great help if we still had school library services and if other libraries were not closing and it makes me boil. Why does the government think children are getting fat and not reading? It couldn't have anything to do with the fact that the leisure centres and libraries are closed. Hello!
Philip Pullman is too nice to be rude, especially on Radio 4 so I'll be rude for him. Stop talking about 'serious' books. Children know what they want they want to read, what is right for them. Reading is supposed to be a pleasure.
The hardest thing about being a child is how powerless you feel. People spend your whole life telling you what to do. It's awful being a child, being shoved about while adults crap all over your life. For God's sake leave the the children alone, let them read what they want.
I can remember being eight and my teacher Miss Bainbridge reading us a Famous Five book. Wow. I thought this was the best story in the whole world and promptly read all of them and then the Secret Seven. There are no adults in these books. Enid Blyton knew her stuff. She got rid of them all at the beginning and best was that George had her own island. I wanted one.
I remember the little library in Tow Law which I joined when I was seven, tiny, so exciting, choosing for myself.
I remember discovering Winnie the Pooh. Has there ever been better dialogue? And I had aunties and friends and they would buy me hard backed books. Nobody ever told me what I should read, they didn't check on me, I devoured book after book. On Saturdays, Min, who looked after me would take me on the bus to Bishop Auckland and we would buy books from the market and pens and notebooks from Woolworth's. Reading was and is always for me escape from the awful things that life throws at me. Books are for whatever you want. That's you, the reader, whatever age you are.