Monday, 18 February 2013

Keeping my promise

Whenever I go into my local Waterstones, I like to browse the children's section. Not just because I'm studying children's literature; I've always thought that books for children and 'young adults' (what a horrible phrase) are written with more imagination than those intended for an adult audience. I am annoyed by, and feel sorry for, those readers who think children's books are beneath them. If I had been a book snob, I would have missed The Hunger Games (which is so much better than the film), The Graveyard Book, and The Book Thief. I would not have a book called The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, which I bought because I needed to see that title on my bookshelf. I owned two copies of The Hounds of the Morrigan because one had been read so much, it had fallen apart. I say owned, because The Daughter remembered the story so fondly that she took a copy back to Cornwall with her. I like it when that happens - certain stories from your own childhood fill you with so much magic, you always want to own a copy. 

Anyway, several months ago, I was browsing in Waterstones when the man who runs the children's department came over for a chat and to recommend some books I might like. He told me to give Wonder, by R J Palacio a try, and said it was the best children's book he'd read for a long time. He then sold it to me very cheaply, on the condition that I'd read it and recommend it to others.

Different covers, but the same story.

I put it on my 'to read' pile, got stuck into my studies and forgot all about it, until Ms Fab mentioned that she'd just read it herself. When I finish an assignment, I reward myself by reading a non-study book, so I read it. I started when I got up this morning (late-ish, as it's half term), and have just finished it. It should, in my opinion, be read and discussed by every year 6 class everywhere. If you haven't read it, it's a simply-written story of a 10 year old boy with an incredibly bad facial deformity. Up until now, he's been home-schooled, but now he starts school and is exposed to the real world. What stayed with me, was a line from J M Barrie's The Little White Bird, which was quoted by the school's headmaster: 'Shall we make a new rule of life...always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary?' 

Ok, forget the year 6's - maybe everyone should read it...


  1. Sounds good - do you think its out on this side of the world? Sunny South Africa?

    1. I think it is - I've found a couple of book reviews from South African newspapers from late last year. x