8/04/2010

Enid and I, a secret revealed.

I have a confession that would probably have me burnt on a stack of Dewey's' and the ground salted with book cleaner.
It is a secret that I have carried with me since my early forging in the fires of public librarianship.
I tried to deny it. Even meditated in the librarian yogi position, perched on a stack of encyclopedia’s and Whitakers almanacs, but still that one irrefutable and undeniable realization refuses to budge….

I HATE Enid Blyton.

Dear Enid. I hate you.


I hate that the stories are all twee, and entirely out of touch.
I hate that even after they’re repackaged they still look old.
I hate that all the kids are portrayed in such an idealistic fashion that has NO basis in reality.
And I really hate the fact that Blyton is used as the PARAGON of what a childrens’ author is suppose to be, by parents and teachers, to the exclusion of authors like Jeff Kinney, Judy Blume, and even old J.K.

Dear J.K. Enid is after me.



Jislaaik!

The short and probably long-ish-ness of it all, is that a parent who comes to a librarian, asks for help to get her children to read, shouldn’t dismiss valid and entertaining choices simply because
1.)    its not what THEY would’ve read
2.)    they have fond memories of Enid Blyton
3.)    they think anything that has a star on the cover, is about the dark arts (which I thought was anything with mimes in it)
4.)    they want books with real children, set in the REAL world.
Dear Mime. Learn the Words!

What parents don’t get is that my job is to create that appreciation for reading by nurturing and feeding that little spark that’s been dulled by games, the internet, facebook and  uninterested parents.
And my tools for this gargantuan endeavor is the creative output of authors that will resonate with kids, in the latest half of the twentieth century.

 Ok, granted, if your child is a good reader and started reading the hated Blyters before I could get to him/her, then fine keep on doing it. But it’s those kids that didn’t have that exposure to reading early on, who now need more than just a parental command of: READ!!! Or Else!
 
The irony is that not a lot of parents continue reading to their kids after they finish Grade 2 (at Bedtime and so forth), so the main role model for reading at this point, stops doing it.
Then, to make my efforts more futile, the government stigmatizes reading by insisting on reading time during school, with holiday reading list to drive the message home.
And the message thusly states:
" You have to read because its good for you, and don’t forget to eat your vegetables, wash behind your ears and clean your room."
Dear Alfalfa. Government Prescribed Reading WILL save your life. We hope
 

So the moral of this session is:
If the librarian asks the child what he/she wants to read, parents don’t chime in.
If the librarian asks what the child’s reading level is like (not their grade) and you don’t know what it is. ITS TIME TO GET INVOLVED.
If the librarian asks if your child has read Harry Potter, don’t start yelling about how evil it is.
If the librarian gives the child a book, do not take it from the child and say I’ll keep it.
If the librarian asks if they’ve seen a particular movie and are playing a particular game, the librarian is not just making small talk.

And the last moral is this:

Trust your librarian to get your child reading, and leave the Blytons’ alone!

Parents! Leave those Blytons alone.




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