Witch journalism

Shock, horror! None of the children’s laureates chose Harry Potter for their favourite children’s books!

Well, why would they? They are old people. (No offense intended. I’m old myself.) They will pick what they liked as children, or something that stands out as excellent over decades of reading. Harry will be chosen by the children’s laureates in forty years’ time.

I just don’t get this newspaper/journalism thing. Are they stupid, or do they go out of their way to appear as stupid as they think we, the readers, are? Or do they hate Harry with a vengeance, so must rub his, or rather JKR’s, face in it as often as the opportunity arises?

Don’t worry about me. I might have got out of bed on the wrong side this morning.

But it would be nice if things weren’t always dumbed down or ‘over-scandalised’. I love Harry Potter, but even I can see that it’s possible to discuss children’s books without him.

And of the books listed in the Guardian article, the ancient witch has read very few. Nesbit. Treasure Island. Have naturally seen Mary Poppins the film. Have to hope that I have read all that was not listed. I’m not laureate material, that much is clear.

10 responses to “Witch journalism

  1. All those lists tell me is that these are the books these older writers loved when young (and when Harry wasn’t around yet).

  2. The point of many of these ‘my favourite children’s book – by: lots of famous important people’ lists is purely to encourage wider reading.

    Not long ago the footballers did one, and their answers ranged from Harry Potter to The Iliad. And while i’m sure there was a lot of truth in their answers, i’m also sure they were edited to create the broadest range possible.

    It is useless encouraging a 12 year old to read harry potter alone, chances are they have already.

    As children’s laureates they must know that. I wouldn’t have put it past them to deliberately choose books that a child today wouldn’t consider without recommendation.

    You do that too bookwitch: Encourage us to read beyond the best seller list. Maybe you are laureate material after all!

  3. Yes, yes, yes… I have no problem with the laureates. (I wish I could say that some of my best friends are laureates, but I can’t.) It’s the newspaper that annoys me.

  4. I think that’s the natural state for newspaper readers. you pick the one that annoys you least, then find something to annoy you anyway.

    I do agree with you though, my point wasn’t about the laureates either, it was the way those lists are interpreted and reported, when any journalist with two brain cells to bang together would know the real purpose of them.

    In the footballer report, harry potter reader Rooney was looked down on, and Iliad reader Lampard was branded a genius (he is, officially, but that’s besides the point).

    Yet sensational reports sell, and what could be more sensational than the children’s laureates snubbing the most successful writer of our time?

  5. Good to see Eva Ibbotson in Anne Fine’s list there – one of the only recent novels mentioned by any of them (so it wasn’t exclusively books they read as children). I love ‘Journey To The River Sea’. Actually I think ‘The Star Of Kazan’ is even better, though it’s less celebrated for some reason.

    It’s no great scandal that Harry Potter is omitted. People read JKR anyway. If these lists have any purpose at all, it must be to encourage people to read what they ain’t read yet…

  6. Aha, now even I get the whole list. It wasn’t on this morning. I wondered how Nick knew so much more than I did.

    I can repair my tarnished reputation a little, since I have read a few more of the books.

    But enough of the lists for today. I have schools to shout about, now that the Guardian have had their bit of attention.

  7. I can see your point, but if I were Rowling (oh, I wish I were), I would relax and count my millions.

    The children probably don´t read the list anyway.

  8. 12 years on from the first HP book, I’m not noticing that many children are actually picking them up and reading them – that first wave of commitment as the books were written and children grew with them is over and there is an element of “overload” factor. Children have said to me that the increasing length of the sequels is offputting and they prefer the films.

  9. The first I noticed of this was the rack of recommended books in Waterstone’s yesterday. At first glance it made me happy (classics are classics for a reason, after all), but moments later I got a bit grumpy. I’d prefer to see the laureates picking out some contemporary stuff that’s worthy of reading instead of forever seeing it bunged on 3 for 2 tables like it isn’t worth as much as the classics.
    Then I had a quiet word with myself and decided that it’s all good, really.

  10. Of course, it’s safer for them to recommend old stuff. That way they don’t have to praise or leave out current colleagues’ work.

    Though, watch out for the Adèle Geras interview later this week. She is a woman who recommends all over the place, in a most generous manner.

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