Monday 21 September 2020

Truth and Children's Literature by Anne Booth

 Recently on Twitter, I asked this question:

Anne Booth  @Bridgeanne ·Sep 14

Can people recommend children's books, from picture book upwards, which deal specifically with the truth - including but not only - fake news - but the idea of some things being true and beautiful and good, and others not. @Booktrust  

I asked this because I am personally very interested in the idea of Truth anyway, but also I have recently become very concerned about all the fake news and the contradictory and confusing reports we see in the media. It's so hard, at times to tell what is true and what is not. I watched this amazing documentary on Netflix called 'The Social Dilemma', which I really recommend as a thought-provoking thing to watch — here is a preview and a link to an article about the documentary itself. 

It seems, whatever we think of the documentary, that this world we adults have made is certainly a very complicated world for children to grow up in. So what can children's books do to help children think about and recognise what is true and what is not, what is truly good and what we are being manipulated into thinking is good? 

I had so many brilliant answers to my Twitter question. My own children, aged from 20-24, who were with me during lockdown, have all gone back to university or work, so I am sorry that I don't have my experts to help me work out how to copy them all in a thread here, but if you go to my @Bridgeanne account and find this tweet above from Sep 14th, you will see so many interesting answers, and I have copied and pasted a selection here!

Replying to @Bridgeane and @Booktrust

The Middler by @KirstyApplebaum is an atmospheric, "quietly menacing"(!) book,
which looks at how everything you have ever known and believed about the world
can be turned on its head.

I have started reading it and am really enjoying it. 

Replying to @Bridgeanne
Hi Anne! Or @AnnaMcKerrow suggests: 

Splat the Fake Fact - Adam Frost/Gemma Correll
Scoop McLaren: Detective Editor - Helen Castles

Politics for Beginners - Alex Frith/Rosie Hore/Louie Stowell
The Truth According to Arthur - Tim Hopgood/David Tazzyman
What Lexie Did - Emma Sheva 

I have already ordered and read the next one, 'Sticky Beak', and think it is a brilliant look at advertising! 

Replying to @Bridgeanne and @Booktrust
What about persuasion and the power of advertising - everything isn’t always as it seems? 

Sneaky Beak by Tracey Corderoy & illustrated by Tony Neal Sneaky Beak is an absolute joy to read! Its bright colours, larger than life.

Rashmi Sirdeshpande is away editing @RashmiWriting 

I got news! GOOD NEWS: WHY THE WORLD IS NOT AS BAD AS YOU THINK (illustrated by @mrahayes) is out on 10th June 2021. A hopeful book (9+), covering some of the biggest issues of our time from fake news and the climate crisis to politics and inequality. 

One very interesting tweet by Dr Ann Alston @AnnAlston17    proposed a theory that ALL Children's literature is the search for a truth. 

What do you think? Do you have any recommendations?


Joan Lennon said...

Important issues to be addressing - thanks for this! Joan Haig and I have a book coming out next July with Templar called Talking History that looks at famous speeches from the last 150 years. It's aimed at 8-12 year-olds and as well as being a fun read and inspiring, we hope to help kids learn the tools they need for assessing what people say. No way of knowing what the world will be like by next year, but those are skills that will never go out-of-date!

Anne Booth said...

That sounds brilliant. I will get that for my local school.

Abbeybufo said...

Think this is the direct link to your original tweet...