The Prompter Room

For Thursday, January 7, 2016:


“The power of imagination makes us infinite.”

John Muir

A friend on Facebook shared an article this morning from The Atlantic that makes some important distinctions between British and American children’s literature, and I want to share it with you because it’s so good.

Entitled ‘Why the British Tell Better Children’s Stories,’ the article notes that ‘pagan folklore,’ fantasy and magic are the primary sources and cultural experience of the British genre, whereas American stories tend to emerge from the ‘Protestant work ethic’ and a ‘day-t0-day realism’ of survival in a new country.

Do check out the article here .  Even if you don’t write children’s stories, you’ve read them (I hope), and your children and grandchildren.  As she compares and contrasts the two canons, author Colleen Gillard explains how and why each country’s stories engage our imaginations in markedly different ways, and she lists many of the classics from both sides of the pond, with pertinent examples from some.

(On a personal note, I am surprised she didn’t include the UK’s late Terry Pratchett.  I was introduced to him only a few years ago, but ever since then I take every opportunity to read new-to-me stories.  His imagination is boundless and fun, and both young people and adults will enjoy his books.)

After reading the article, I understand now why I so enjoyed the Harry Potter books, and why the series became a worldwide phenomenon.  Whatever genre we write in, and whatever age we are, this is an important resource to undergird our work.


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