Reprinted in The Australian Age, 07/9/09, and the Buffalo News, USA, 03/9/09 Tuesday 1 September 2009
One day recently I heard an unearthly wailing coming from my 11-year-old son's room. It was like no sound I'd ever heard from him before. He doesn't normally cry at television or films but, curled up alone in his bed reading, when the fantasy character he identified with met a grim end, vanquished by the forces of darkness, he found it absolutely devastating.
Anne Fine deplores 'gritty realism' of modern children's books
The Times - August 25, 2009 by Jack Malvern and Jackie Kemp
Former Children's Laureate Anne Fine said that modern stories offered little hope for their protagonists
Once upon a time, in the spiffing 1950s, characters in children’s books enjoyed wonderful adventures after which they all lived happily ever after. By contrast, reality weighs heavily on today’s young readers, a former children’s laureate has warned.
Anne Fine said that cosy tales in which children’s characters looked forward to future adventures had been replaced by gritty stories that offered no hope for their weary protagonists.Contemporary literature is dauntingly bleak, with depressing endings that do little to inspire.
The celebrated South African judge is still setting liberal precedents with a ruling that parents should not be sent to jail, because of their children's rights - which, he tells Jackie Kemp, has important lessons for the UK.
Albie Sachs: 'Judges are the storytellers of the 21st century'. Photograph: Eamonn McCabe
This a slightly abridged text of the lecture given by the ANC veteran and South African constitutional court judge Albie Sachs at the National Gallery of Scotland on June 25 2009 in Edinburgh, transcribed from my shorthand note.
NEW HORIZONS: Social networking and blogging are an increasingly important part of classroom life for both pupils and teachers. The pen has always been a mighty instrument. But in this internet age, when daily musings are so freely dispensed through Twitter, Facebook and blogs, it is easy to forget the power of the written word. The brightly painted town of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull has recently been reminded of this, after the local paper published a series of messages that had been sent by Lynne Horn, a principal teacher at the local high school, through the social-networking site Twitter.