Category Archives: Children and teenagers

Judith Kerr, 94, worries about adults, not kids, using gadgets

Children’s author says children reading was once frowned on just as their use of devices is now

If a tiger did ever come to tea, many adults would miss it because they were too busy staring at their phones, the children’s author Judith Kerr fears. The 94-year-old writer and illustrator was on Tuesday joined by Benedict Cumberbatch to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her classic story, The Tiger Who Came to Tea.

Kerr was asked if she was concerned about children being too obsessed with technology. She said she was more worried about the adults. “I sometimes feel there might be a tiger rushing along the road and no one would see it except me,” she said. People who stare at their phones are missing out “because the world is quite interesting”.

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Source: gad

Feminism, fattism and fart jokes: do David Walliams's books pass the smell test?

After the Presidents Club scandal, several booksellers pulled his kids books from shelves. Is the bestselling author of Mr Stink and Ratburger a Dahl-esque maverick or an old-fashioned bully?

Among the scores of men caught up in the Presidents Club dinner scandal happened to be one of Britain’s best-loved children’s authors, David Walliams. He was, of course, gulled into the throwback event with no knowledge whatsoever of what kind of scene he was stepping into, despite having hosted it for three years in a row, and contributing to the auction list (the now well-known headline lot was plastic surgery to “add spice to your wife”). Walliams’s offering was that he would name a character after a philanthropist: “Micky the misogynist” suggested Jess Phillips MP after the story broke. As a result, a handful of independent bookshops ceased to stock Walliams’s books. But will it dent sales of the work of the top-selling author in the UK last year?

Walliams started in 2008 with The Boy in the Dress, and his output has been large, a book a year, sometimes two, followed by TV adaptations. His media presence is wide ranging, and it would be difficult to separate the children’s Walliams from the adults’. It is hard, therefore, to put his “least PC ever” activities aside when thinking of him as a writer. “Role model” is a bad-faith term, used more often to convey disapproval than any authentic anxiety. You wouldn’t stop a child reading Mr Stink for fear that they may grow up a running dog to a financial elite that kicks back its heels by recreating Game of Thrones without the dialogue. But if you could see the values that you reject in his writing, you might well steer your progeny towards some other author.

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Source: gad

Must monsters always be male? Huge gender bias revealed in children’s books

A thieving duck in Peppa Pig is one of the few female villains in the 100 most popular picture books. An Observer study shows that, from hares to bears, females are mostly sidekicks

Male characters are twice as likely to take leading roles in children’s picture books and are given far more speaking parts than females, according to Observer research that shines a spotlight on the casual sexism apparently inherent in young children’s reading material.

In-depth analysis of the 100 most popular children’s picture books of 2017, carried out by this paper with market research company Nielsen, reveals the majority are dominated by male characters, often in stereotypically masculine roles, while female characters are missing from a fifth of the books ranked.

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Source: gad