Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Wizard of Earth Sea - My fav children's stories

"'Beverly Cleary, writer of books for children, said, "Children want to do what the grownups do. Children should learn that reading is a pleasure, not just something that teachers make you do in school."'

As a teacher retired after 40 years in the classroom, I agree entirely with Cleary. Youngsters sop up the culture surrounding them - the reason that universal public education is such an important part of any successful democracy. Where else can a culture present to children what is acceptable and what is worth dreaming into reality?

My favourite writer of children's literature is Ursula LeGuinn. Her Earth Sea series is complex, fantastic, realistic, lively, and engaging.

Le Guinn grew up in a household near the western edge of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California in which Ishi, the last remaining member of his tribe, lived after he escaped from the mountains shortly after the turn of the last century.

Her father, an anthropologist, fed cultural prerogatives to the family at the dinner table. LeGuinn's stories do the same for children.