Real worlds and Ideal worlds
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Transcript of Real worlds and Ideal worlds
- 1. Childrens Books in India:Real Worlds and Ideal Worlds
- Deepa Agarwal
2. Childhood As an Age of Innocence
- But trailing clouds of glory do we come
- From god, who is our home:
- Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
- William Wordsworth
- in Ode, Intimations of Immortality
3. Childrens Reality in India
- Vast social and economic divides.
- Tradition and religion are powerful forces.
- A host of problems affect the young but books ignore them.
4. Most Childrens Books IgnoreReal Life Problems
- The reasons are:
- Conservative mindset means that taboos still linger.
- Hidden censorship prevents authors from being realistic .
5. Whats Right, Whats Wrong
- Focuses on real issues:
- Lack of access to good education
- Child labour
- Gender discrimination
- Some writers and reviewers found it unsuitable for children
6. A Parent Found This Depiction of a Teacher Objectionable 7. Shantis Friend
- Exploitation of a child domestic helper not an acceptable topic.
- Changes were requested because it was felt it might upset readers.
- The child had to be transformed into a poor relation.
8. ThePanchatantraThe Monkey and the Crocodile
- The theme of friendship betrayed.
- In the end the monkey parts company with his false friend, the crocodile.
- In a contemporary story the traitor would repent of her/his actions and the relationship be restored.
9. King Vikram and the Vetal
- Gruesome setting.
- Gory ending.
- Extremely popular with children, parents and publishers.
10. The Death of the Saintly Prahalads Wicked Father Hiranyakashipu
- Writer and critic Nandini Nayar comments: I cringed at Prahaladscalmness in the face of the horrible death his father suffers.
11. Target Encouraging Realistic Stories
- A number of stories that addressed the real problems real children faced were regularly published in this magazine.
12. Manisha Chaudhry, Editor with Pratham Books Says:
- It really depends on the treatment of the issue.
- The authenticity and empathy that the writer feels or exhibits a lack of.
- Children sense out insincerity very fast.
- I would not reject a manuscript because it deals with a painful aspect of reality. If it brings up something in a way organic to the book and talks to children naturally, I'd go for it.
13. Suresh Readingat Pratham Library
- No adverse reactions from the children or theBal Sakhis (childrens friends), librarians or parents.
- I can say this with some certainty as we get feedback through questionnaires and at meetings
- Pratham runs 4000 libraries across 14 states of India Each library services 150-200 children.
14. Angry River by Ruskin Bond
- An amazingly calm portrayal of a village girl, Sita coping stoically with calamitythe destruction caused by a flood.
15. A Village by the Sea byAnita Desai
- A sometimes painfully realistic story about two poor children Hari and Lila trying to survive in adverse conditions and growing in strength and maturity.
16. Growing Up by Devika Rangachari
- A realistic depiction of middle-class life.
- Credible characters
- Real life situations
- Actual problems children face.
17. No Guns at my Sons Funeral By Paro Anand
- The making of a boy terrorist in Kashmir
- Compelling, even terrifying clarity.
- Climax as brutal as any television image of a terrorist attack.
- End strikes a positive note.
18. Paro Anands Comments
- We don't live in an ideal world.
- Today's young are more willing and able to confront reality and deal with it.
- Found it too much to handle when the hero, Akram is made to kill a puppy and a kitten during his training.
- Human deaths were somehow easier for them to handle than the animal deaths.
19. What Do Children Say?
- Q. Should stories always have happy endings?
- Purva,11not alwaysthey should show humans as they truly are.
- Saloni, 9sometimesI wish books would be more real.
20. Children Say
- Radhika, 10sometimesthey usually show the world as a better place than it is.
- Tanya, 8alwaysthey should show the world as a better place but make us think.
- Dhruva, 9sometimessometimes they do have children who seem real like us.
21. Nandini Nayar, Writer and Critic Comments
- To write books that conclude with all strings tied off neatly, no loose ends visible, is unrealistic.
- This does not happen because of the kind of 'safe' topics that writers in India stick to.
- Children are protected from reality, so serious subjects are a taboo. And so is anything like a reality check in the form of open-ended books.
22. Alison Lurie inDont Tell the Grown-ups
- Though there are some interesting exceptions, even the most subversive of contemporary childrens books usually follow these conventions.
23. Alison Lurie inDont Tell the Grown-ups
- They portray an ideal world of perfectible beings, free of the necessity for survival and reproduction: not only a pastoral but a paradisal universefor without sex and death, humans may become as angels.
- The romantic child, trailing clouds of glory, is not as far off as we might think.
24. THANK YOU!