Julia Donaldson, author of the Gruffalo, spoke recently to Sky News about the lack of respect for children’s literature.
The writer remarked how frustrated she is by the lack of thought the media gives to promoting children’s literature through reviews and articles.
Donaldson explained: “I don’t think it’s given the respect it deserves at all. People are always talking about how they want children not to use gadgets so much, they want children to be more literate, and yet when you look at reviews of children’s books – which probably account for at least a third of the market of all books – in some newspaper supplements, you’re lucky if you get one column.”
Newspapers and media websites tend to have lists of upcoming kids’ books, or the best children’s literature of that month or year, but regular reviews are scarce. Donaldson’s suggestion is that children’s literature should be treated like regular fiction, reviewed and promoted with the same seriousness.
“I’d be dishonest if I didn’t say there was any vanity to it,” she continues. “I think all children might want to be recognised and be famous. I’m sure I was no different from anyone else.”
Donaldson has written more than 200 books and is a great supporter of libraries, offering her books for free for everyone.
The former children’s laureate says it is “ridiculous” and “very short sighted” for councils not to support “these wonderful resources”- public libraries.
“As far as I’m aware, they are used well by children, but even if they weren’t then the problem should be, ‘Oh, how do we get them into libraries?’ Not ‘let’s just close the library down’.”
Almost 800 libraries have been closed by the Conservatives since 2010. This has had a huge impact on communities and especially on children, families, older people, and vulnerable folk who need free access to the internet.
Donaldson is also an advocate for sharing stories together: “If you’ve had your ups and downs during the day and you’re having a cuddle and sharing a story, that’s lovely, it is very nice to be part of that.”