Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Some Knockout K's by Lynne Benton

First in my list of knockout K’s has to be

RUDYARD KIPLING.  Born in 1865, he was born in Bombay to British parents, but at the age of 5 was sent “home” to Britain for his education, as was the custom with colonial children at the time.  He became a prolific writer of books and poems for adults as well as children, but perhaps his best-known works for children are “The Jungle Book” (published 1894) and the “Just So Stories” (published 1902).  He died in 1936.

CLIVE KING is mainly famous for one book, “Stig of the Dump”, published in 1963, which has now become a children’s classic.  It is the story of Barney, a modern boy, who discovers a Stone-Age cave-dweller called Stig living at the bottom of a disused chalk pit in Kent.  The two become great friends, though of course nobody believes Barney when he tells them Stig is a caveman.  It has been reprinted many times, and has been adapted for television twice (though I can’t help feeling that, particularly with a subject like this, the imagination paints better pictures if you read it in a book!)  Clive King lives in Norfolk.

JUDITH KERR was born in Berlin in 1923, but her family escaped from Germany just before the Nazis took power.  They settled in England, where she now lives, and has written and illustrated many books for children, including the delightful series about Mog the cat, and the semi-autobiographical “When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit”.  Rather to her surprise her earliest book, “The Tiger who Came to Tea,” remains one of her most popular.  In 2012 she was awarded the OBE for services to children’s literature and Holocaust education.

CHARLES KINGSLEY was born in Devon in 1819, the son of a clergyman, and he went on to become a clergyman himself.  He was very interested in history, and greatly concerned for social reform.  Although he wrote many books, including “Westward Ho!” and “Hereward the Wake”, possibly his most well-known today remains his “The Water Babies”, a strange, rather sinister tale about a little chimney sweep, first published in 1863.  It was written as part satire in support of Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species,” and for many years it was counted as a children’s classic.  Eventually, however, it fell out of favour, mainly because of its prejudices against Irish, Jews, Americans, and the poor, though these prejudices were common at the time.  He died in 1875.

GENE KEMP was a British author best known for her children’s books. Her first novel, The Pride of Tamworth Pig was published in 1972, but her best-known, and the book for which she won the Carnegie Medal in 1977, was “The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler.”  She died in 2015, aged 88.

DICK KING-SMITH, who lived and worked in the West Country all his life, is a great favourite with children, especially those who love animals.  His book, “The Sheep Pig”, published in 1983, won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 1984, and in 1995 became a very popular film as “Babe”.  Several of his other books have been televised or made into films, and he also presented a feature on animals on TV-AM’s children's programme “Rub a Dub Dub.”  He was a teacher for many years and wrote over a hundred books.  He died in Bath in 2011, aged 88.

JEFF KINNEY, born 1971, is an American cartoonist, producer and author of children's books, his most famous being his “Wimpy Kid” series.  In January 1998, he came up with the idea of a middle-school weakling named Greg Heffley, who writes illustrated stories about his personal life. In May 2004 he released an online version of the story, titled Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  It became an immediate hit, and the website made daily entries until June 2005, but it wasn’t until 2006 that he signed a multi-book deal with a New York Publisher to turn “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” into a print series.  The first printed version was published in 2007, and since then thirteen further Wimpy Kid books have been released.  He is also a writer and designer of online games.

Next month I'll be talking about the L's.


Sue Bursztynski said...

Wow! There are some amazing Ks out there!

Sue Purkiss said...

Yes - some outstanding Ks!

Penny Dolan said...

It's always interesting to see which authors and books appear next in your alphabet, Lynne.