Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sharks and Dolphins

Anya upstairs has always loved sharks -- she's even kissed one (photograph below). When she was a child, she loved how gracefully they moved through the water. Now she's a marine biologist and is saddened by how needlessly afraid of them most people are (sharks prefer fish blood to human) and how brutally and greedily they're slaughtered (just for their fins, too!).

I love the fact that Anya loved sharks when she as a child and then KEPT loving them. At around ten, or maybe earlier, many children start acting the way they're supposed to act and liking what they think they're supposed to like -- they lose their originality and their creativity and big chunks of themselves. But some people don't; and they're not all artists, either.

So what does this have to do with children's books? In a way, nothing; but in another way, everything -- when books are original, when books are themselves (not trying to copy what's currently popular), sincere, they encourage kids to be, too.

And not in a preachy way, but by example; and making them think, and giving them pleasure at the sounds of the words (even, the power and beauty of language) and the looks of the images. Not that any of this is conscious on the part of readers! But in really good books, it's there.

All images on this post copyright Anya Watson. Used with permission.

1 comment:

Meghan McCarthy said...

Yeah, people do sometimes lose big chunks of themselves. I like the way you put it - chunks. The key is to keep what you love. Books should encourage that.