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Archive for the ‘children literature’ Category

Children’s Literature in Language Education

Posted by Mariel Amez on June 12, 2009

Hildesheim University and the Young Learner & Teenager SIG, IATEFL, are organising an international TEFL conference on children’s literature.

It will take place in Germany from 25th – 27th February 2010.

The International Conference Children’s Literature in Language Education – from Picture Books to Young Adult Fiction intends to disseminate information and provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences on the power of literature for the young; approaches to children’s literature and young adult literature as a bridge to reading beyond school; gender considerations – the different attitudes of different readers – and the resulting consequences with regard to the canon of literary texts for EFL; and the debate around original children’s literature and graded readers.

The Call for Papers is open until July 31st.

Please visit http://www.childrenslit.de:80/ for further information.


Posted in children literature | Leave a Comment »

Peeping Presents

Posted by cris1923 on April 10, 2009

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Peeping Presents


Did it again! Bought a book for a dear friend of mine and before presenting it to her –just had to take a peep! I could not possibly avoid the temptation: the book in question is the latest, state-of-the-art, definitive edition of The Annotated Alice by none other than journalist, mathematician and Carrollinian sleuth Martin Gardner1.

Similarly to the dog-eared paperback edition I own2, this beautiful hardback published by W.W. Norton & Co., includes Alice´s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass as originally illustrated by John Tenniel. However, it brings along a few extra bonuses: new and revised annotations, a whole deleted episode from the second Alice book called “The Wasp in the Wig” ; the facsimile letter of a somewhat tired Tenniel urging Carroll to do away with the “[…] wasp chapter which doesn´t interest me in the least, and I can´t see my way into a picture” , plus a wealth of bibliographical references –filmography on Alice as well.

Before re-wrapping and making the present respectable again, an idea dawned on me. Wouldn´t my co-bloggers enjoy sharing some of my ´peeping´, as well? Certainly so, I told myself. So here I go, giving you a glimpse of some of the material plus samples of the drawings that accompanied the very first Alice MS, called Alice´s Adventures Under Ground, illustrated by Lewis Carroll himself3!

According to his biographers, Dodgson loved drawing and had entertained the idea of becoming an artist. The quirky, nonsensical tone of the drawings illustrating the Rectory Umbrella4 –one of the many home magazines he put together as a child for his enjoyment and that of his brothers and sisters, eleven in all —was also a feature of the MS he offered the real Alice when he decided to put down the story he´d shared with her and her sisters and illustrated it. But when his friend Ruskin saw the drawings, he urged him to commission Punch cartoonist, John Tenniel, to do so instead. Though Dodgson managed to recover the facsimile edition of his original –published as a limited edition in 1886– the MS was eventually auctioned and is now in the British Museum5.

As sometimes is the case, this artistic couple´s relationship was far from congenial reaching at times the brink of exasperation. Irritated at Carroll´s demands, Tenniel´s claimed to have described Carroll as “that conceited old Don”6 . Not surprisingly both men were quite exacting as to their respective work; no doubt Dodgson may have proved a pain in the neck when placing demands on his illustrator yet Tenniel, despite blindness in one eye , must have in turn irked the writer when claiming to have “a wonderful memory for observation”7 while refusing to accept any models –photos or live– for his rendering of Alice.

Time now to enjoy the attached illustrations, judge for yourselves Carroll´s artwork, and join in the gossip by reading Tenniel´s extant letter. As for myself, I´ll do my very best in redecorating the parcel neatly so my friend doesn´t suspect a thing. Wish me luck!

Contributed by Cristina Grondona White



1 Gardner, Martin, ed. (1999). The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. Illustrated by J. Tenniel.


2 Carroll, Lewis (1970). The Annotated Alice. Middlesex: Penguin Books Ltd. Illustrated by J. Tenniel.


3Carroll, Lewis (1929, 1965). Alice´s Adventures Under Ground. Facsimile of the author´s manuscript book with additional material from the facsimile edition of 1886. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.


4Pudney, John (1976). Lewis Carroll and His World. London: Thames and Hudson.


5 In his “Prefatory Note” to the Everyman Edition, Roger Lacelyn Green states the MS in question sold for £30.000.

6The Oxford Companion to Children´s Literature, H.Carpenter and Mari Prichard (1984). Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 521.


7Op. cit., p. 522.



Posted in children literature, reading | Leave a Comment »

A special –for those still happy to be ´children at heart´!

Posted by cris1923 on March 15, 2009



While trying to discard papers scattered in my den –totally unsuccessfully must admit—I came across a set of boxes labelled “Postcards”. Rummaging the lot, I found a treasure trove: reproductions of original pencil sketches of the illustrations Ernest H. Shepard made for A.A. Milne´s Winnie-the-Pooh books!1 Couldn´t keep them to myself so please find them attached for your enjoyment as well. To think that the Silly Old Bear´s turned 88 this year and stands just as a lovable and popular as ever, is indeed a pleasure for many of us still ´children at heart´.


Whenever I find the need to revisit Milne´s delightful toy animal stories, I rejoice leafing through my paperback editions2 enhanced by the original Shepard artwork — not Disney´s. Have nothing against Walt, though; but what Shepard achieves through his delicate line drawings cannot compare to the animated version. Funny thing is that most people believe Disney to be the original illustrator! Probably because in 1961 he obtained filming rights for them from the Milnes and through a series of featurettes made the English bear known everywhere3.


All this got me reminiscing…I just had to go over Christopher Milne´s –a.k.a. Christopher Robin, the child protagonist who inspired the story—autobiography where he tellingly unveils the problems he faced on account of the fame his fictional namesake enjoyed. In The Enchanted Places 4 he says:


If the Pooh books had been like most other books –published one year, forgotten the next—there would have been no problem. If I had been a different sort of person there might well have been no problem. Unfortunately the fictional Christopher Robin refused to die and he and his real-life namesake were not always on the best of terms. For the first misfortune (as it sometimes seemed) my father was to blame. The second was my fault (Epilogue, p.177).


Ernest H. Shepard , whose delightful artwork gave life also to unforgettable Mole, Toad, Ratty and friends in the unforgettable children´s classic The Wind in the Willows , also felt that overexposure as a result of his popularity for the Pooh drawings had proved a bit of a nuisance for him. A member of the outstanding, first-rate team of artists and regular contributors to Punch5 magazine, he felt that “that stupid bear” had overshadowed his first-rate artistic production6.


Fortunately, the “Silly-old-Bear´s” parents did enjoy a sound, if not close relationship. The words Milne inscribed in the book presented to Shepard are proof enough, I think:


When I am gone,
Let Shepard decorate my tomb,
And put (if there is room)
Two pictures on the stone:
Piglet from page a hundred and eleven,
And Pooh and Piglet walking (157)…
And Peter, thinking that they are my own,
Will welcome me to Heaven.


Contributed by: Cristina T. Grondona White

Posted in children literature | 5 Comments »

The Extensive Reading Foundation Language Learner Literature Award

Posted by Mariel Amez on March 1, 2009

To encourage teachers and students to read and evaluate the books, the ERF, in cooperation with publishers, has a Finalist Evaluation Program. In each category, two copies each of the three finalist titles are placed in the hands of 10 classes around the world.  Successful applicants will receive the books soon after the finalists have been announced at the beginning of April 2009.  

You may apply for consideration if:

   1. Your class, school or library has an extensive reading program in place to which the supplied titles can be added.
   2. Students can read, evaluate and vote for the books by the July 10 deadline.

Read more on the topic in the ERF website.

Although the website mentions the deadline was February 20, 2009 , Tom Robbin (co-webmaster of the ERF site) tells us

“none of the categories has yet reached its full complement of 10 participants, so the deadline has been extended to March 10.”

Good news, isn’t it?

Posted in children literature, teaching | Leave a Comment »

Virginia Hamilton (1936-2002)

Posted by Mariel Amez on December 31, 2008


She received the Hans Christian Andersen Award for the body of her work ( Berlin 1992).

You can visit her website at


Posted in children literature, room project | Leave a Comment »