Slap Happy Larry

picturebooks, apps, eBooks, short stories

Tag: reading (page 1 of 2)

Boy Friendly, Girl Friendly

What is meant by boy friendly and girl friendly?

Sometimes a Google search screenshot speaks a thousand words:

boy-friendly-search girl-friendly-search1

Girl Friendly Links

10 Great Science Fiction Books For Girls from Flavorwire

Strong Female Characters In Fiction from Common Sense Media

100 YA Books For The Feminist Reader from Bitch Media

9 FEMALE CHARACTERS WE WISH WE’D BEEN MORE LIKE IN HIGH SCHOOL from The Mary Sue

Here’s an interesting article from author E.M. Kokie about how much harder it is in some ways to write a female protagonist than a male one: “I’ve discovered, to my frustration and anger, that it’s actually much more difficult to talk about [my female protagonist’s] body, and her body’s desires, in ways that feel natural to her character (and her love interest’s character) and that feel readily accessible to the landscape of YA readers….I was shocked to find a complete lack of language for the female anatomy in all but one of the books I checked, and none at all during an intimate scene.”

Unlikable Female Characters In YA Fiction from Stacked, because girls don’t need to always be liked.

The Greatest Girl Characters of Young Adult Literature from The Atlantic

Top Picks For Women’s Equality Day from Reading Today Online, a website which also has the lesson plans Females in the Spotlight: Strong Characters in Picture Books and Girls Read: Online Literature Circles.

How Do You Find Feminist Children’s Books? asks Bitch Media

Readers’ Choice: 10 More of the Most Powerful Women in Literature from Flavorwire

Teen Girl Sleuths to Read While You’re Waiting for Veronica Mars from Book Riot

Women Protagonists in YA: A List and Resources from Ashley F. Miller

Feminism 101 book recommendations for teens from Feminism 101

And for the younger readers, here are some chapter books about girls, though I haven’t read them so can’t promise they’re ‘girl friendly’, which it should be clear by now, is not the same thing! (Here are early chapter books featuring girls that come in a series.)

How To Write The Perfect YA Heroine is an ironic how-to guide which points out all the ways in which societal expectations and biases and sexisms play out in fiction as much as they do in real life.

Heroines Of Colour is a Pinterest board featuring book covers of heroines who are not white.

Girl Friendly Books: Well-known For Rounded Female Characterisation

  • The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Jamila Stevenson
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  • Mare’s War by Tanita S. Davis
  • Feeling Sorry For Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty
  • Along For The Ride by Sarah Dessen
  • Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales
  • The Kayla Chronicles by Sherri Winston
  • Spindle’s End by Robyn McKinley
  • Don’t Judge A Girl By Her Cover by Ally Carter
  • Year Of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty (2003)
  • Kiki Strike by Kirsten Miller (2006)
  • The Running Dream by Wendolin Van Draanen (2011)
  • True Blue by Deborah Ellis
  • The Wild Girls by Pat Murphy
  • Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson (2006)
  • Arabel’s Raven by Joan Aiken
  • Nim’s Island  by Wendy Orr
  • Princess by M.M. Kaye
  • The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz
  • The Penderwicks and its sequels by Jeanne Birdsall
  • Esperanza Rising  by Pam Muñoz Ryan
  • A Wrinkle in Time (Madeline L’Engle)
  • Independent Dames by Laurie Halse Andersen
  • The Daring Nellie Bly by Bonnie Christensen
  • You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer! by Shana Corey
  • Imogene’s Last Stand By Candace Fleming
  • Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell
  • The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman
  • The Evolution Of Calpernia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
  • His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman
  • Clementine By Sara Pennypacker
  • Eleanor Roosevelt by Russell Freedman
  • A Ballet For Martha by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan
  • CLAUDETTE COLVIN: TWICE TOWARD JUSTICE by Phillip Hoose
  • ALMOST ASTRONAUTS: 13 WOMEN WHO DARED TO DREAM by Tanya Lee Stone
  • Daughters Of Time edited by Mary Hoffman
  • Just Like Tomorrow (2004) by Faïza Guène, translated by Sarah Ardizzone
  • Lady: My Life as a Bitch (2001) by Melvin Burgess
  • A Gathering Light (2003) by Jennifer Donnelly
  • Ballet Shoes (1936) by Noel Streatfeild
  • Wise Child by Monica Furlong

 

What Is ‘Ludic Reading’?

Ludic

  • ‘Ludic’ or ‘absorbed’ reading is a virtually trance-like state in which readers willingly become oblivious to the world around them.
  • This is by no means a universal phenomenon — some readers read like this, others can’t.
  • For readers with the ability to become so absorbed in a book, aesthetic quality has little to do with enjoyment.
  • Instead, children’s preferences are more to do with matching the books’ themes to their own particular developmental stage and inner world. (This explains all the parents I saw at the book fair, searching for ‘books about dinosaurs’ and ‘books about diggers’, grabbing everything they could find on the theme rather than looking at what I might call ‘quality’.)
  • Such matching between reader and book is similar to falling in love.
  • Texts that have this effect on readers are likely to be read again and again.
  • The reader has to work for this — it’s not something that a book can one-sidedly do alone.
  • The term as used here comes from Hugh Crago and Victor Nell.
  • Ludic on its own means ‘showing spontaneous and undirected playfulness‘. (From Latin, related to ludere, ‘to play’ and ludus, ‘sport’.)

It may be that narrow input is much more efficient for second language acquisition. It may be much better if second language acquirers specialize early rather than late. This means reading several books by one author or about a single topic of interest.

— from The Case for Narrow Reading by Stephen Krashen

Read It To Them Anyway

My daughter said she didn’t want old-fashioned books. But we raced through the Little House books. My son decided he didn’t want any books in which the protagonists were girls. But I said let’s just try Ramona. And he of course, loved it.

Kevin Henkes, author of Kitten’s First Full Moon and many others

There are studies suggesting that reading digitally is worse for recall and comprehension than reading books – yet many of them are based on computer screens not touchscreen tablets, and involved adults who’d grown up reading books, not children who’ve been swiping on tablets since they were toddlers.

There are studies suggesting that reading digitally may, in fact, benefit certain groups of children, from boys from disadvantaged backgrounds who struggle with print, through to children with dyslexia – but many of these are based on small sample groups, with the common conclusion being that more research is needed.

The Guardian

In reading for character, readers conventionally use their knowledge of the way people in the world around them usually behave to assign traits to characters, to guess about their motivations, to reconstruct their past, or even to predict what they might do after the end of the story.

Reading in this way implies that fiction is a kind of gossip. It assumes that authors say a little bit about the characters they describe so that readers can have the fun of guessing about all the aspects of character and experience they are not told about. […] But, like gossip, guessing about literary characters can misrepresent them by fitting them into categories readers already possess. Readers who want the pleasure of perceiving something more than or something different from what they already know or believe about human nature have to work with a different assumption: that authors carefully select what they choose to say, and that their choices–both what they say and what they don’t say–define what they wish readers to understand.

– The Pleasures of Children’s Literature, Perry Nodelman and Mavis Reimer

Texts often describe how places, people, or objects look or sound or smell. Readers can enrich their experience and increase their understanding by forming mental pictures: by imagining what is being described as exactly as the words of the text allow them to. This process is what theorists of reader-response call “concretization”. […] Concretization is a skill often possessed by children. In fact, imagining as literally and completely as possible the world and the people a text describes is the only way that many children know of building consistency from the texts they read. This seems to be the reason that so many children and other inexperienced readers worry about the logic and coherence of the worlds that texts enable them to concretize–why they so often get angry when there are inconsistent details in descriptions of places and people or confusions in the sequence of events.

On the other hand, concretization is a skill that many adults have forgetten. Many readers have been taught to focus so much on using texts’ potential for engendering sights and smells and sounds. That’s a pity. Not only does it deprive such readers of a source of pleasure, but it also prevents them from understanding the subtle richness of the texts they read.

– The Pleasure of Children’s Literature by Perry Nodelman and Mavis Reimer

Holding On To Enid Blyton

childhood books you can't give away

I grew up in the 1980s and 90s, but this was before parallel importing of books in New Zealand, when books were still super-duper expensive. Few kids owned many and school libraries were quite small. I was lucky to grow up in a household full of books, though these comprised almost entirely of:

1. Little Golden Books

2. Read-It-Yourself books from Ladybird

3. My mother’s childhood books, and for some reason, a number which had belonged to her cousin. These were mostly Famous Five novels, along with a few from Blyton’s Malory Towers series and a few similarly bound ‘girls’ novels’ by Elsie J. Oxenham.

Here is a picture of Elsie J. Oxenham. It was taken in 1910.

Elsie J Oxenham portrait

The photo says it all.

 

 

I never was impressed by Oxenham’s books, which have dated in the most conspicuously terrible way you can imagine. I’ve since passed them on, and perhaps a collector found them at the second hand store. Enid Blyton’s books, however, are harder to get rid of, not because they haven’t dated. Enid Blyton’s books are terrible in ways that are well-known and well-documented by many other modern readers:

Enid Blyton’s Books Were A Product Of Their Time

 

When it comes to Blyton’s notorious characterisations of travellers and gypsies [Cullingford says they are] ‘so absurdly innocent that they are beside the point’, a worrying observations both in light of the fact that, around the same time as Blyton was writing, over 200,000 gypsies were either being killed or had recently been killed in the Nazi death camps, and in light of the fact that Blyton is still promoted in school and very widely read by children.

– Understanding Children’s Literature, edited by Peter Hunt

The reason I’m having trouble giving my Enid Blyton collection away is because the stories are still compelling, and because I have such fond memories of Enid Blyton stories as a child. Again, I’m not alone in this:

500 Million Readers Can’t Be Wrong from Children’s Books Articles

The Enduring Appeal Of Enid Blyton from The Guardian

Some of my Enid Blytons

Some of my Enid Blytons

If there’s any dilemma at all in the first world problem of owning too many books, it is this:

  1. Do I want my daughter to read Enid Blyton, over and over again, like I did?
  2. Did I love the stories of Enid Blyton mainly because I wasn’t exposed to much else?
  3. Is there enough time during childhood for the average reader to get through all of the old classics as well as all the best new ones?
  4. What does it mean to be a well-read child these days, when there is so much out there?
  5. Wouldn’t I prefer my daughter read modern classics over and over, for example the Harry Potter series, which is neither racist nor sexist (at least, if it is, we can’t see it yet)?
  6. Do I donate these Enid Blytons to the second-hand store, or do I keep them here, taking up space on a shelf?
  7. If I give them away, will I feel the hole they have left? After all, those are my childhood memories right there!
  8. If I keep them on the shelf and my daughter finds them, will I be slightly irritated that she’s not reading better stuff, which I have bought for her with good money?
  9. If my daughter reads them, is this an unexpectedly wonderful lesson in 20th Century inequalities, as it was for me?
  10. Is there a danger in sheltering young people from the sexism of earlier eras that they forget things can swing just as quickly back the other way?

What have you done with your childhood books? Do you encourage your children to read those over newer ones? Do you think children should read older books alongside modern publications for a rounded view of recent history?

The Size and Format of Picturebooks

How does the binding of a book affect reader expectations?

What about the size?

 

The actual individual appearance of of individual books is just as obvious an example of how prior expectations control our responses to stories; it influences our attitude to the stories the books contain before we even begin to read them. We expect more distinctive literature from hardcover books with textured, one-color cover and more conventionally popular material from books with luridly colored plastic coatings. we tend to thin differently about paper-covered books and ones with hard covers, and as a result we respond differently to the same story in different formats; what might seem forbidding and respectable in hardcover often seems disposable and unthreatening in soft. 

The size of a book also influences our response to it. We tend to expect rambunctious, energetic stories like the ones by Dr. Seuss from large books and more fragile, delicate stories like those by Beatrix Potter from smaller ones. In fact, larger books do allow larger effects, while smaller ones demand restraint from an illustrator, lest they appear overly fussy; but these differences are as much a matter of convention as of technical limitations. We tend to read smaller books expecting charm and delicacy — and to find it even if it is not there — and to read large books expecting energetic rambunctiousness– and to find it even if it is not there. 

– Words About Pictures by Perry Nodelman

We shouldn’t underestimate the effect of binding and size. One disadvantage of book apps and ebooks is that the reader is not provided with any textural information, and the size is fixed according to the dimensions of the device.

That said, a universal book app created for iOS (for instance) may well be interpreted very differently depending on whether it is read on an iPhone, an iPad mini, an iPad, a Mac screen or projected onto a smart board.

Teens and Reading

Kids with parents who read, who buy or take books out of the library for their kids, and who then set time aside in their kids’ daily schedule for reading, tend to read the most.

Why Don’t Teens Read For Pleasure Like They Used To?

tldr version: there are other things to do

Older posts

© 2017 Slap Happy Larry

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑