Those of you who aren’t avid Wall Street Journal readers may have missed the article they ran on July 7th called, Literary Losers.
Now normally you’d have to read a book before you can review it effectively, but those folks at the WSJ are so erudite they managed to review an entire list of recommended summer reading novels while only reading the one sentence description blurbs. Not surprisingly, they found the whole list lacking. It was formula fiction. It was no better than the back of cereal boxes, and All’s Fair in Love, War, and High School was obviously trash because it was about a cheerleader.
Everyone knows cheerleaders aren’t actual people.
Children, the article urged, should only read the classics.
Thus proving that no one at the Wall Street Journal has children. Hello, there is a reason why you never see kids fighting over Ivanhoe. And just because something was written 75 years ago doesn’t make it better than the stuff that’s rolling off the presses now. Today’s authors have a lot of advantages that help make our writing better. We’ve got computers, we’ve got tons of books on writing, and we’ve got editors that cut all the three paragraph descriptions of purple tinted mountains.
Admittedly there are some great classics. My favorite book is Pride and Prejudice. I also love Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh, great children’s classics. But I know that if you gave children nothing but classics to read, you would not have a generation of literate and well refined kids. You would have a generation of kids that hated reading.
Let kids read what they want. After they discover a love of books in all their varieties, they’ll love the classics too. But they’ll still love the newer stuff and that’s fine. Today’s cereal-box fiction is tomorrow’s classic.