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By Dave Snowden  ·  December 31, 2012  ·  Christmas Blogs

Its time to bring this Christmas blog sequence to an end as the year draws to a close.  Choosing which books has not been an easy task.  However I have in all cases chosen books that have value for adults as well as children.  I've also chosen ones that do not compromise on language and which ask moral questions; the function of children's literature is to teach and prepare as much as it is to entertain.

I have acknowledged my debt to Children's Hour on the BBC Home Service.  Most days from five to six pm my sister and I sat in...

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the need to kill and the need to make…

By Dave Snowden  ·  December 30, 2012  ·  Christmas Blogs

I've mentioned the terror of the Earldelving before and recommended Alan Garner's books, based around Alderley Edge in Cheshire, that synthesise a hodgepodge of different magical traditions.  The first, Weirdstone of Brisingamen was again discovered through the BBC's children's hour and with its sequel The Moon of Gomrath were read and reread when I was young.  My children discovered them through audio books and interestingly both of them independently listed them in their top three when I asked them last week.  There are also...

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full of ‘satiable curtiosity!

By Dave Snowden  ·  December 29, 2012  ·  Christmas Blogs

Kipling, the first English author to win the Nobel Prize for literature, had to appear in this series sooner or later.  The issue which I have wrestled with between various forms of Christmas Cheer, is which of the Just So Stories and Jungle Book to feature.  I ended up realising that I needed to talk about both, starting with the story of their discovery.   One of the many benefits of being deprived of television during my early years was the BBC Home Services Children's Hour.  This service should never be compared with the dumbed...

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... in a hollow oak by a woodland river

By Dave Snowden  ·  December 28, 2012  ·  Christmas Blogs

Swinging back to those glorious years for English literature between the two world wars, I come to Tarka the Otter.  I am somewhat conflated in my memories by the fascist leanings of its author.  He gave explicit support to Moseley's Brown Shirts and in the 60s his novels reference Hitler as some form of flawed Christ.  So he is not an author you would necessarily invite to dinner.  However his books were foundational to Ted Hughes, one of the great poets of the modern age.  His detailed observation of nature, and his raw naturalism...

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Rule Forty-two

By Dave Snowden  ·  December 27, 2012  ·  Christmas Blogs

I've sorted out the sequence of the final posts here which will take me through to the 31st, allowing me to start the new year with something less serious than Children's literature, maybe power in research or reflections on  my trip to the Warsaw Rising Museum with daughter on the 30th/31st of this month.  Publication dates of the remaining books are 1894, 1865, 1927, 1930 and 1960 and I am still keeping to books that worked for my own children as well as me.  I'll probably run through the list of 'really bad but regrettably...

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