marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

Reading SF/F To Your Kids

A rambling sort of panel.  We circled round topics and repeated ourselves for new audience members.  This post will be more focused on topics than it was, no doubt. . . .

I was on this one.  Indeed, I came prepared.  I was wearing this T-shirt as a prop.

I have no kids.  But I have a long history of giving books to small relations, in hopes of getting them to read, and introducing them to stuff.  So I asked if anyone recognized the picture -- some people guessed Six Swans or Seven Ravens, which is certainly the right type, and the Six Doves is, after all, obscure -- as a lead in to pointing out that you don't have to let Walt Disney decide which fairy tales you know.  I recommended Andrew Lang for Blue Fairy Book, Red Fairy Book, Green Fairy Book, etc., still in print after all these years and multi-cultural before multi-cultural was cool -- a panelist pointed out they were public domain and on line -- and Sur La Lune and its collections.  I warned about reading them first for content, and later, also because sometimes they are from folklorists.  Tales from Cloud-Walking Country has some nice tales, but in at least one, the informant forgot the ending.  When later, a panelist told of having to write a story because she had read her daughter The Paperbag Princess, and the daughter wanted to read about a prince who was rescued by a princess and was grateful, I was pointing back to such collections, as there are a lot of fairy tales where a rescued prince does just that.  I also recommended Tattercoats for its high quality Prince Charming.

Reading a book, you want it to be a little above the child's ability level.  Something the child would want to read but can't quite.  One panelist had brought a selection from The Wind In the Willows and demonstrated the gentle art of reading aloud and the importance of voices, and talked of how his daughter had learned that not everyone in a book talks alike for that.  The Phantom Tollbooth occasioned great discussion of what the child will miss -- all the puns in Tollbooth, unless reading with you and can see them.  Agreement that the child can come back latter even if missing now.  And the importance of defining words as necessary.

Judging whether the kid will have nightmares.  Reading first.  Not underestimating their stomach, but being willing to stop.  How kids may want to wrestle with tales that scare them.

And sf and fantasy.  The younger the kid is, the more you may have to resort to fantasy, though panelists did come up with some SF picture books.
Tags: arisia, children's books, fairy tales, genre: fantasy, genre: science fiction, reading

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