Writing ‘juveniles’ certainly modified my habits of composition. Thus it (a) imposed a strict limit on vocabulary (b) excluded erotic love (c) cut down reflective and analytical passages (d) led me to produce chapters of nearly equal length, for convenience in reading aloud. All these restrictions did me great good — like writing in strict metre.
– C.S. Lewis
“If there’s anything missing that I’ve observed over the decades it’s that that drive has declined,” said the 83-year-old author… “There’s a certain passivity, a going back to childhood innocence that I never quite believed in. We remembered childhood as a very passionate, upsetting, silly, comic business.”
– Children’s books today aren’t wild enough, says Maurice Sendak, The Guardian
Now I know there’s a theory today that we must never write for children and, after all, we’re all just big kids, but I don’t believe that. It’s partly because I refuse to think of myself as a large wrinkled child, but also because, through my children, I have come to see that childhood is a special time, that children are special, that they do not think like adults or talk like adults. And even though we adults sometimes feel that we are exactly the same as when we were ten, I think that’s because we can no longer conceive of what ten was really like, and because what we have lost, we have lost so gradually that we no longer miss it.
– Betsy Byars, 1982
Pair with: The Psychology Of Your Future Self, a TED talk by Dan Gilbert
A children’s book should be written…remembering how few books children have time to read in the course of a childhood and that the impact of each one is probably equivalent to a dozen, or twenty, encountered at a later age.
– Joan Aiken, English author
Hear “The People Across The Canyon” read by Douglass Greene at Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine.
This is my favourite story from the excellent collection Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives. This is partly due to how much I relate to the characters; when our daughter was 5 some new neighbours moved in next door. They were very unfriendly, but had two sons who were overly friendly. They would invite our daughter next door, but oftentimes she came back subdued, and once, crying. I never knew what happened next door, but I did learn more and more about the family, and had to stop my daughter from going over there. When you’re the parent of a child between around 4-8, it’s difficult to discern fact from fiction; children so often live in their own worlds. “The People Across The Canyon” encapsulates that confusion most beautifully.