Blogger: Etta Wilson
Location: Books & Such Nashville Office
Weather: Hot as you-know-what
The title for this post has a broader meaning than at first may come to mind. As I read the summer movie listings, review publishers’ offerings of games, and receive inquiries about film rights-all based on children’s books, I can’t help thinking what terrific influence authors of children’s books have.
Beverly Cleary’s classic books about Ramona Quimby have just hit the big screen in the full-length film, “Ramona and Beezus.” For an older audience, Stephanie Meyer’s third book and film, “Twilight Saga:Eclipse,” is playing, though it’s questionable whether the book or the film was birthed first. And if you think kids books include comics, you’ll want to know about ComicCon, the annual San Diego conference devoted to that format that took place last week. I heard it was awash with trailers for viewing.
All of which may cause us to ponder which comes first with kids now: words or pictures? The time-honored approach developed in a world where reading was a great achievement was first the picture book, then the all-text chapter book, followed by the longer novel and nonfiction book. But things have changed in the last 20 years, thanks to declining levels of classic education, the rapid spread of computer and texting culture, and the lure of entertainment.
I don’t mean to indict any of those changes–just saying that they have happened and that kids learn in different ways now. And even in all this change, some things are universal. That’s why it’s encouraging to see a major movie being made of “Ramona and Beezus.” Beverly Cleary is 93 or 94 years old, and she clearly remembers her father losing his job when she was a child. The Ramona books began in 1968, developing out of Cleary’s success with books about Henry Huggins. Read the Ramona books and see the movie–with a child.
What experiences are universal themes that children still respond to? How much time do the children in your life devote to reading?