In 1987 I offered a paper on the Fourth Early Childhood Conference in Wellington. I titled the paper “Books Are Harmful”. All the time in my thoughts had been the experiences of instructing studying within the small nation faculties, and what a distinction it made to youngsters’s studying, their self-confidence, their pleasure, when there have been tales about them. Not solely about them, however by them. This didn’t imply that they didn’t just like the tales and books about others, as a result of they did, however in writing their very own tales and sharing them, they had been capable of see themselves as worthy protagonists too.
In preparation for the paper, I considered my very own childhood studying. Although I had all the time appreciated books, any books, any written-down phrases or expressions, those I learn as a baby had been all the time unique. I by no means discovered myself in a ebook.
The kids I examine lived in different international locations, lands of snow and robins. Typically they lived in massive homes and had nurses and maids to take care of them. They didn’t belong in prolonged households, didn’t converse as I spoke. There have been malevolent aunts and horrible stepmothers. It was mistaken to be poor. If you happen to had been poor you normally did some courageous deed that made you wealthy by the tip of the story, while you would marry a princess or a prince. Otherwise you died within the snow whereas promoting matches. Maidens and Jesus had been honest. Nobody was brown or black until there was one thing mistaken with them or they held a lowly place in society.
I remembered Epaminondas who “didn’t have the sense he was born with”, who carried butter on his head and it melted throughout him. He carried sausages in his pocket, which had been quickly trailing alongside the bottom to be bought at by the canine of the neighbourhood. There was Man Friday who, as a result of he was black, and solely due to that – not as a result of he didn’t have glorious survival expertise – turned Crusoe’s servant. In return for servitude, Crusoe to begin with renamed him, then taught him a “correct” language, enlightened him in “correct” manners, social graces and faith. Then there was the unique “Uncle Tom” along with his servile mentality. There was the story of “The Variety Teddy Bear”.