Have Children's Classics Been Forgotten?

Interesting discussion in The Scotsman about how today's children are no longer reading classic novels such as Wind in the Willows, Moby Dick and Oliver Twist. The bestseller lists are dominated by Harry Potter, The Twilight Series and other recent titles.

"Sometimes it can be a little daunting to be given a 600-page classic and told it is a classic if you are a young kid, so maybe it's about how you present books and talk about them."

To get hung up on whether children are reading "the classics", though, is to miss the point, says Ali Bowden, director of Edinburgh's Unesco City of Literature Trust .

"I think the most important thing is that kids read, rather than being overly prescriptive on what they read. "I think the classic novels are still being taught in schools and I suspect most kids are being given contemporary books rather than classics at home. A lot of kids are reading a whole range of books, including classics.

"Nurturing a passion for reading is really important, rather than giving kids a really strict book list."

Comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

book

To get hung up on whether children are reading "the classics", though, is to miss the point, says Ali Bowden, director of Edinburgh's Unesco City of Literature Trust

Arrogant Assumptions

Why the assumption that more recent novels are not relevant or are somehow lacking in literary spirit just because they are new? The Harry Potter series is timeless; it is a retelling of the old, old tale of the struggle of good against evil. Told in many times and places in different ways. Why is it any less valid than the metaphor that is Moby Dick just because it's not a hundred or so years old? Why is not as good as the Lord of the Rings simply because its author still walks among us?

There is nothing that cannot be found offensive by someone, somewhere.

Sales?

I wouldn't expect sales numbers to tell you much where the classics are concerned. There are so many dirt cheap paperback copies available at secondhand stores and friends of the library sales. That's where all of ours came from.

The survey seemed to jump the gun a bit on the children's ages too.

Moby Dick?

Moby Dick is not a children's story at all. It is for adults. Good luck getting even an adult to read it. I read it and will never again.

I agree...

It's one of the few books I was never able to force myself to finish. Even the cliff notes put me to sleep. :)

Syndicate content