Saturday, September 6, 2008

Quote of the Week--#003

It would be a good idea if children would write books for older people, now that everyone is writing for children.

G. C. Lichtenberg
Quoted in Quotations on Education
compiled by Rosalie Maggio

When I was young--probably about 10--I decided that I agreed with Lichtenberg. (I had never heard of him, but now, thanks to Wikipedia, we all can know about him. He really was an interesting guy.) I set out to write something tentatively titled "All About Adults by a Kid". I struggled unsuccessfully for several year to write something interesting.

Finally I decided that it was a lost cause. All I could think to say turned out to be roughly what my mother kept telling. "Adults just want what is best for their children." " Adults always know best." Who wanted to read that? I was never 100% convinced that this was even true much less that I it was worth repeating or that anyone would want to read it.

I think Lichtenberg would have suggested just writing a story and letting adults get some insight into what children think. I never did that. I hope that someone will take on that task and that publishers will publish it without platitudes or jokes about the improbability of a child being able to write a book. There are lots of published books out there that would have been had they been written by a child. There are also lots of things that children could say that adults have forgotten.

Yes, there are many, many books written by adults trying to use the voice of a child. Some are really quite good. The works of Christopher Paul Curtis, Roald Dahl, and Daniel Pinkwater come to mind almost immediately. I have had to struggle a bit to think of others. Even authors that we think of as really knowing children usually write in the third person. Any suggestions?

No comments: