Children's Books and Other

Oct 2014
1,786
Stockholm
#1
Have you ever reflected on the differences between children's books of a hundred years ago and today? As I have two little girls, I sometimes consider this. I look at what my children bring home from the library and compare those books to the old classics. So, I decided to bring home two real children’s classics, Pollyanna and Anne of Green Meadows. I had never read them before, because they are girls’ books.

Oh dear! What a difference! There is such an obvious spiritual dimension there. Although it’s fundamentally Christian, it has much bearing on the Bahá’í world view. Pollyanna constantly tries to see the positive side of things, thereby transforming those who surround her. Later on, psychologists have coined the term ”the Pollyanna Syndrome” to describe a dangerous form of self-deception. Well, that could be the case if you remove the spiritual dimension. But in the light of the Faith, the book has much to offer to Bahá’í chidren.

And then we have the spiritual view of man: there are insights into psychology that only can be appreciated if you have a spiritual perspective and believe in life as a learning experience centered around the virtues.

No wonder that these books are less and less appreciated, being replaced by books that are less concerned with the inner life of man and prefer to concentrate on the material side of life: acquiring things, going places, etc.

I strongly feel that modern literature, not only children’s books, but most of modern literature, has lost something essential. Just to take another example. The French writer Alfred de Musset in no way was a saint – actually he was quite fond of orgies and debauchery if we are to believe the Journal des Goncourt. But what subtle observations he made! In those days, people were thrilled by meeting new people, by being acquainted with new, hitherto unknown characteristics of man.

I can’t help feeling that something essential has been lost in this modern world, where people basically consort with their own kind – lawyers with lawyers, doctors with doctors, factory workers with factory workers, as if one’s profession were the most essential characteristic of man.

It is an immense task to try to recreate that love for MAN in one’s children. How to do it? I don’t know, but at least one could hand them some books that could open their eyes to the potential of man.

Best

from

gnat

P. S. It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that sting! :)
 
Last edited:
Jul 2014
832
colorado/summer-Oklahoma/winter
#2
Guess I never thought of a fellow never taking the opportunity to enjoy Pollyanna or Anne of Green Gables. Both are terrific.....PBS made a wonderful series of Anne that I highly recommend. There are many Caldecott and Newbery awarded children's books that are fantastic....both old time awards and newer books earning that distinction. You can find many wonderful books filled with spiritual and life truths, filled with ways of enjoying and living a life that is positive and takes all living things in consideration. I grew up without a TV....so I read A LOT!!

Loving Baha'i regards,
Becky
 
Oct 2014
1,786
Stockholm
#3
Guess I never thought of a fellow never taking the opportunity to enjoy Pollyanna or Anne of Green Gables. Both are terrific.....PBS made a wonderful series of Anne that I highly recommend. There are many Caldecott and Newbery awarded children's books that are fantastic....both old time awards and newer books earning that distinction. You can find many wonderful books filled with spiritual and life truths, filled with ways of enjoying and living a life that is positive and takes all living things in consideration. I grew up without a TV....so I read A LOT!!

Loving Baha'i regards,
Becky
Well, first of all there is the Golden Rule: boys don't read girls' books. It goes the other way to, which I noticed the other day when I tried to introduce a boys' book to my eldest daughter. :)

Then, I live in Sweden. The books have to be in Swedish and our tastes regarding children's books are very different.

Third: yes, TV is unknown to my little ones. For good reasons! :)

But still, having read a considerable amount of books in my life, this disappearance of the spiritual approach to life in literature really strikes me.

gnat
 
Aug 2014
1,362
Blue Planet
#4
Anne of Green Gables! WOW, one of my all time favorites. even to think of that book gives me joy.
yes i agree with you gnat. children's books are becoming less and less constructive. I remember that when i was a child (4 years old) there was a weekly magazine here which was published for children aged between 9-15- well. I was not very much into very childish stories so my father would buy that magazine for me every week and read its stories to me. apart from colors which had a heavenly beauty and i still can remember my love for them,there were stories worth reading. I clearly remember the story of "Gilgamesh" which was published there as a series and o was always enjoying to hear that from my father's mouth. then the story of Odyssey which i heard for the first time when i had only 4 years old. when i got 10 my father bought me the complete book of Hans Christian Anderson tales...such a BIG BIG joy to read stories like Tumbellina (tiny girl). but nowadays everything has changed as if i had been living 100 years ago. stories have violence within them and they are not peaceful or they are too shallow and unworthy.
i had this thought in my mind in relation to children cartoons. in my time we had cartoons like Anne of Green Gables, Katri girl of the meadows, the Swiss Family Robinson, etc. and look at cartoons we have now: Ben Ten, full of violence. a little boy among our relatives is in love with this cartoon and he imitate everything in it. and i have recently seen a cartoon, an animation, named Coraline. it was a SHOCK to me to discover that this very scary animation is the winner of best CHILDREN'S ANIMATION at 2014. so many ghosts, and scary creatures, whole lot of macabre features and a devil character who picks out children's eyes and replaced them with botton.I couldn't believe this was a children's animation. and saw our neighbor's three year old daughter watching it out of curiosity while she was hiding behind a sofa with very scared look, unmoved and suddenly she shouted and asked someone to come and turn off the TV!
I can't figure out what is really happening to children; to literature and everything which once meant to be fun and instructive!
 
Oct 2014
1,786
Stockholm
#5
Anne of Green Gables! WOW, one of my all time favorites. even to think of that book gives me joy.
yes i agree with you gnat. children's books are becoming less and less constructive. I remember that when i was a child (4 years old) there was a weekly magazine here which was published for children aged between 9-15- well. I was not very much into very childish stories so my father would buy that magazine for me every week and read its stories to me. apart from colors which had a heavenly beauty and i still can remember my love for them,there were stories worth reading. I clearly remember the story of "Gilgamesh" which was published there as a series and o was always enjoying to hear that from my father's mouth. then the story of Odyssey which i heard for the first time when i had only 4 years old. when i got 10 my father bought me the complete book of Hans Christian Anderson tales...such a BIG BIG joy to read stories like Tumbellina (tiny girl). but nowadays everything has changed as if i had been living 100 years ago. stories have violence within them and they are not peaceful or they are too shallow and unworthy.
i had this thought in my mind in relation to children cartoons. in my time we had cartoons like Anne of Green Gables, Katri girl of the meadows, the Swiss Family Robinson, etc. and look at cartoons we have now: Ben Ten, full of violence. a little boy among our relatives is in love with this cartoon and he imitate everything in it. and i have recently seen a cartoon, an animation, named Coraline. it was a SHOCK to me to discover that this very scary animation is the winner of best CHILDREN'S ANIMATION at 2014. so many ghosts, and scary creatures, whole lot of macabre features and a devil character who picks out children's eyes and replaced them with botton.I couldn't believe this was a children's animation. and saw our neighbor's three year old daughter watching it out of curiosity while she was hiding behind a sofa with very scared look, unmoved and suddenly she shouted and asked someone to come and turn off the TV!
I can't figure out what is really happening to children; to literature and everything which once meant to be fun and instructive!
And then we have the terrible problem that occurs when children's comic books are translated into Persian: they have to be turned around, mirror-wise, to start at the end, and all the characters have to shake hands with their left hands!

gnat
 
Aug 2014
1,362
Blue Planet
#6
And then we have the terrible problem that occurs when children's comic books are translated into Persian: they have to be turned around, mirror-wise, to start at the end, and all the characters have to shake hands with their left hands!

gnat
HAHAHAHAA ;) funnyyyy .... only that we too shake hands with our rights hands! :noob:
 
Jul 2014
832
colorado/summer-Oklahoma/winter
#7
So the Black Stallion, Black Beauty, Swiss Family Robinson, Tarzan series...are not available or considered girl books.....hmmm...I have eclectic tastes in reading so never divided books into boy/ girl piles....a good book is a good book. My Dad loved Anne of Green Gables, and I watched the series with him many times....But you are right...I have no idea what books are available in Sweden.
 
Oct 2014
1,786
Stockholm
#8
So the Black Stallion, Black Beauty, Swiss Family Robinson, Tarzan series...are not available or considered girl books.....hmmm...I have eclectic tastes in reading so never divided books into boy/ girl piles....a good book is a good book. My Dad loved Anne of Green Gables, and I watched the series with him many times....But you are right...I have no idea what books are available in Sweden.
Oh, Black Stallion: yes, I remember that vaguely. Swiss Family Robinson: remember that. Tarzan: is that a children's book? Muscular man with a minimum of clothes, making a great impression on Jane? Hmmm... I'll keep that one out of reach....:)

gnat
 
Jul 2014
832
colorado/summer-Oklahoma/winter
#9
Tarzan, the books, are pretty much about family values....and what makes up a family in the midst of a jungle....maybe an older child's book.....very interesting series tho....there are just so many good books out there...focus on those and forget about the trash some people put out there.....guess I have taken my early exposure to Pollyanna to heart and learned that life lesson very well...look for the good in all situations and you will find it....
 
Oct 2014
1,786
Stockholm
#10
Tarzan, the books, are pretty much about family values....and what makes up a family in the midst of a jungle....maybe an older child's book.....very interesting series tho....there are just so many good books out there...focus on those and forget about the trash some people put out there.....guess I have taken my early exposure to Pollyanna to heart and learned that life lesson very well...look for the good in all situations and you will find it....
But in some ways, I'm an oldfashioned father. I don't want my daughters to dream of jungle men in geopard shorts, whose best friend is a monkey. :)

gnat
 

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