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Tag Archives: Anne Fine

The KidLit I can’t bear to part with

Van Gogh, The Novel Reader, 1888. Oil on canvas

Unsurprisingly, I have quite a large number of kids’ books. Most of them have found their way to me in the last few years, when my academic interest in the genre was piqued. Some of them, though, have been with me since I was a wee young thing myself.

The first of them, Peepo!, is thirty years old this year. I know this because my local WHSmith, inexplicably, is holding a buy-one-get-one-half-price event to honour the fact. This is not, as one might expect, an offer on all picture books, or even just picture books from the (considerable) Ahlberg catalogue, but on one book. Unless you have two children who are particularly reluctant to share, or are chronically unable to resist a bargain, seems to me entirely inexplicable. I adore Peepo!, but I cannot imagine a situation in which I would be compelled to buy two identical copies. Read the rest of this entry

Feminism for Early Starters: Primary Years

Primary Schoolers are a remarkably diverse group as far as reading ability and interest goes. Though some at the higher end of the spectrum may be able to engage easily with, and even prefer, adult novels, reluctant and struggling readers may prefer less challenging literature. Key Stage 2, in UK schools, covers ages seven to eleven, so I’ve gone for books that (I think) fall neatly into that category.

Where feminist picturebooks make basic assertions about gender equality books for slightly older children can begin to build on those foundations. It’s not just ‘girls can be astronauts too’, though of course strong female characters are still the cornerstone of the genre, but now the philosophies of gender equality are beginning to be explored as well.

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