Thursday, 14 October 2010

Should kids still be reading Enid Blyton?

I devoured just about every Enid Blyton when I was a child, but even then I was aware they were slightly frowned upon - although I maintain they never did me any harm. However, they aren't considered literary, therefore we don't stock them in this library (though we have books about Blyton if you are interested.) Anyway, today I came across two pieces of Enid Blyton news. First of all I read Feminism and the Famous Five on the blog I was a teenage book geek. I follow quite a few children's literature blogs, but have only recently discovered this one. It's author, Lauren, maintains "My reading age is stuck at sixteen. And I like it that way." Lauren, whose mother disapproved of Blyton because of negative gender stereotypes, read them in secret as a child and recently she has re-read Five on a Treasure Island. While agreeing with her mother's opinion, she argues that the book reflects the culture of its times and, in fact, the character of George could be regarded as something of a feminist icon.

The other piece of news is that Seven Stories (the Centre for Children's Books in Newcastle) has recently acquired several original Blyton typescripts and staff are busily cataloguing the collection with a view to putting it on exhibition. In the meantime, you can follow progress on their Blyton blog. I've written posts about this fantastic museum before, and if you ever do find yourself in the North East of England it's well worth a visit.

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