Friday, December 23, 2005

News from the U.K.

The U.S. news seems to have slowed some in the days leading up to Christmas, but there are a few interesting articles in the British press.

1) Jeremy Laurance reports for the Independent that Harry Potter has a positive effect on childhood injury levels. "Stephen Gwilym, an orthopaedic surgeon at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, and colleagues investigated the impact of the books on accidental injuries to children at the peak of their use." And this is what they found:
  • They found that in the two weekends when the latest Harry Potter books were launched - 21 June 2003 for The Order of the Phoenix and 16 July 2005 for The Half-Blood Prince - injuries to children fell to their lowest level.

Nice to see the kids are really reading. Sam Lister covers the study for the Times as well.

2) Dina Rabinovitch contributes a fascinating article to the Guardian. The opening of the article is thoughtful and beautiful. Rabinovitch writes:

  • One of the many things I like about the children's authors I meet is the way they are living in their own fairytale right now. For years they've toiled, elves in the night, producing one finely crafted work after another, only to disappear in the cool daylight of the review pages - their imaginations unremarked-upon, their industry little noted. One book after 15 years from a respected adult author generates reams of copy; meanwhile, children's writers such as Michael Morpurgo think nothing of churning out three titles a year, weaving words into yarns with apparent effortlessness.

Rabinovitch's article is essentially an appreciation of Jan Pienkowski's The Fairy Tales (not yet published in the U.S.). She finds, after reading The Fairy Tales, "Because the void has finally been filled, it's possible to see exactly what has been missing all these years. And why it matters, even in these lush times, when there is surfeit of imagination all about and a thousand new tales for every old one." Read the article. It is an exceptional one in this year of good writing about kids literature.

3) Amanda Craig reviews her favorite Christmas picture books of the year for the Times.