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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Small Rant

Silly protest sign
Today I was getting on my winter duds to take my morning dog walk, listening to Wisconsin Public Radio, when I heard something that made me jut my chin and Make Proclamations at my good-humored husband.  This happens fairly often when I listen to the news, granted. There are many things to make a person outraged and this is undoubtedly a small bone of contention in the scheme of things.  But STILL!  I think you will join me in my indignation, so I'm posting here about it.

They were doing a Wisconsin Life piece, and an author was talking about reading with his children.  So far, so good!  How cool is that?  But then he went on to smugly say that he prefers to read "real stories" with them.  I thought, oh, they prefer nonfiction.  But no.  He meant books that are written for adults.  In fact, he meant Illustrated Classics versions of books that are written for adults.

Okay, well. I'm truly glad that this dad is reading to his kids and expanding on the experience by doing interesting things related to the books.  It's great they've found something that works for them.  But to declare that a "real story" means a book for adults, and therefore insinuate that books written for kids are somehow less worthy?  That gets my goat.  Especially when he's holding up the Illustrated Classics version of a book as more real than the hundreds of high-quality, amazing children's books that are out there.  I mean, my daughter used to read the Illustrated Classics version of The Three Musketeers her grandparents gave her with pen in hand to correct all the grammar and punctuation errors.

I'm sure you all agree with me that the field of children's literature is rich and broad.  Let's keep doing what we can to promote those real stories to the public!


  1. Jean Little wrote "People who read condensed versions instead of the real book are like people who read a road map and think they've been on a journey."

    With so many wonderful books for different ages and tastes, how sad that he is limiting his child to the abridged versions of a very narrow selection of books.

  2. Don't forget that most of the original books that Illustrated Classics are based on are from the same old dead-white-guy canon and are devoid of minority and under-represented characters and voices. They also perpetuate white patriarchal culture that disempowers women and minorities. I'm firmly on the soapbox with Leah on this one.