• Children's Literature
  • Manolito Gafotas and the importance of illustrations

    Manolito Gafotas is one of those books I remember reading when I was growing up. Created by the Spanish writer Elvira Lindo, Manolito is an iconic character that everybody in Spain knows very well, probably even these days.

    The humorous style in which the books of his series are written and the fact that they depict the daily life of a working class family assured its success. Whether you have read the books (or watched the movies) or not, if you are Spanish I am sure that just by seeing the illustration of Manolito you could immeditaly recognise him.

  • Children's Literature
  • Down the Rabbit Hole Radio Recommendation

    Illustration by Rebecca Cobb (posted with permission)

    Have you noticed that there aren’t many podcasts or video channels focused on children’s literature? That’s what these three brilliant women thought. And they decided to do something about it. Katherine Woodfine, Melissa Cox and Louise Lamont have created a radio show that is the delight of any children’s literature enthusiast, it’s called: Down the Rabbit Hole.

  • Children's Literature
  • The Universal Republic of Childhood

    Children’s books keep alive a sense of nationality; but they also keep alive a sense of humanity. They describe their native land lovingly, but they also describe faraway lands where unknown brothers live. They understand the essential quality of their own race; but each of them is a messenger that goes beyond mountains and rivers, beyond the seas, to the very ends of the world in search of new friendships. Every country gives and every country receives – innumerable are the exchanges – and so it comes about that in our first impressionable years the universal republic of childhood is born.

    HAZARD, Paul (1944): Books, Children and Men, tr. Marguerite Mitchell, Boston MA: The Horn Book.

  • Children's Literature
  • On the marginalisation of children’s literature

    Yesterday, Bob Dylan has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 by the Swedish Academy. It is the first time in history that a songwriter wins the award and this situation has spurred polemical reactions with some people supporting the decision and others criticizing the fact that it’s not a novelist or a poet who won the prize.

    Interestingly enough, The Nobel Prize in Literature has only been awarded once to a children’s book author since its origin. The laureate was Rudyard Kipling, famous for his novel Jungle Book. Even though he didn’t write exclusively for children, it is the closest to a children’s writer that wins the Nobel Prize.

  • Children's Literature
  • Choosing books for children – A warning

    “Childhood is the time and children’s books are the place for powerful emotions, powerful language, powerful art… There is no room for cutesy books, dull books, or books that talk down. Children are not inferior. They may be small in stature but not in what they feel, think, listen, and see.”

    HEARNE, B. (2000): Choosing Books for Children: A Commonsense Guide, University of Illinois Press, Illinois.