children's books for grown ups


Tove Jansson’s Moomin books focus very closely on childhood and home environment. This means that even if it is not intentional, she conveys some view points and commentary about parenting and either suitable or harmful environment for growing up.

And one huge issue she handled differently than just about all other writers of her time period: discipline. Moomintroll or his friends are never physically punished or even threatened with spanking. Actually, Tove Jansson was very upset with the first Japanese animated version partially because Moominpappa uses physical punishment on Moomintroll in that. Her lack of spanking or other forms of physical punishment in her books is rare as many children’s books of the time did include physical punishment or mentioned it happening. Physical discipline was made illegal in Finland only in 1984, while Tove Jansson wrote her Moomin books between 1945-1970.

Other forms of discipline are also very moderate in Moomin books. Moominmamma and Moominpappa are very allowing and gentle parents. Even if one of the children in their care ends up doing something dangerous or causes harm, they usually take it with a stride and instead worry about children’s safety more than morality of their actions. Mymble’s daughter is the guardian of her wild and ill-behaved little sister Little My (because their mother just simply gave up with My) and there is a scene where Mymble’s daughter does discipline her sister; she yells at My and threatens to give her some unspecified physical punishment. But she openly admits to be just yelling because it makes her feel like she is doing as her mother asked and not because she actually thinks it will work. And she has no intention to actually do anything and My seems to know this. In the end, Little My does whatever she wants and her sister is aware of this.

Strict rules and punishments for children are portrayed few times. Moominpappa grew up in a strict orphanage and was so traumatized that he ran away at young age. The guardian of the place was a very strict Hemulen who did not let children play freely or express themselves. Another example is The Invisible Child, Ninny, who’s aunt was verbally abusive by using irony to address her behavior. This ended up making the child quiet, timid and invisible. Ninny only turns visible when she enters loving and tolerant Moomin family. She ends up becoming a bit ill-behaved but like Too-Ticky says, the most important thing is that the child is laughing and visible.

It is impossible to say how intentional it is, but Tove Jansson’s books portray children who have grown up in understanding environments with as much freedom as possible as the best adjusted and happiest characters. Moomin books are also tolerant of disrespectful or wild behavior in young children like Sniff or Little My. Moominmamma’s kindness and tolerance is constantly shown to be the ideal parenting and children around her respond positively.

If you continue to love Jesus, nothing much can go wrong with you, and I hope you may always do so. I’m so thankful that you realized the ‘hidden story’ in the Narnian books. It is odd, children nearly always do, grown ups hardly ever.
—  C.S. Lewis to Ruth Broady: Lewis’s last letter to a child about Narnia. (26 October 1963)
The King’s greed

‘The Hobbit’ might be a book for children, but still it has hidden messages, that grown-ups could notice and think about. One of these situations was Thorin acting greedily and insanely, as he was stricken by Dragon sickness. Obviously, we think that this is a bad thing. But it is not that simple.

What happened after the dwarves have conquered the Lonely Mountain? The people of Laketown had come to ask for gold from the King of Erebor. But he wasn’t going to give them anything, not even a piece of a coin. Later on, the army of elves had come, lead by their king Thranduil, who wanted to get the gem jewelry, which he claimed belonged to him. Still, Thorin didn’t give anything to elves, as well. The King had called his cousin - Dain from Iron Hills with an army, to oppose the men and elves. The war was tensing. As the King under the Mountain was going insane over the treasures, he did nothing to prevent the war from starting. He did the opposite. He started the war.

This was actually for everyone’s good. Why? Isn’t a war a devastating thing, which should be avoided by all costs? Here, in this moment, a complicated situation starts. As all Woodland elves, Esgaroth people, dwarves of Iron Hills and Erebor were gathered together, Goblin’s army had attacked. Another war had started.

What would everyone do if Thorin didn’t get under the influence of Dragon sickness? The men would come, get their gold and leave to rebuilt their city - Esgaroth. King Thranduil would come with a few of his advisers, take his gems and leave back to his kingdom in Mirkwood. What would Erebor dwarves do? They would get attacked by a huge army of orcs and get slain, as the opposing power would be too great. Goblins would take over the Mountain and later on attack all the lands around them, including Laketown and Mirkwood. Men wouldn’t be able to get a victory, the same as elves.

The Battle of the Five Armies was won by elves, dwarves and men. Together. As they all gathered in one place, their power was much bigger than if they had to face the orcs separately. It’s all about unity. But how did they get united? Now, we are coming back to the beginning. Everyone got united with big armies, ready to start a war against the Kind of Erebor, as he wasn’t giving them the treasures they needed. Just because they were united and prepared, they got a victory over goblins. So… What saved the eastern Middle Earth?

Thorin’s desire for gold.

I think the message Tolkien is telling us, is that everything happens for a reason. That you might fail but you get upwards. That every failure teaches you something. Every failure makes you stronger. Every failure prepares you for better changes in life.

-Forget the real world, get lost in Middle Earth-

Image: Kindergarten students read before class starts at Walker-Jones Education Campus in Washington, D.C. (Elissa Nadworny/NPR)

It might seem totally obvious: Children should read fun, fantastical books so they can learn to love to read. But it turns out that this particular view of children’s books is relatively new.

NPR’s education team looks at the history of children’s books in the classroom, from John Locke’s ideas about realistic stories, to The Hunger Games.

Through The Looking Glass: How Children’s Books Have Grown Up

anonymous asked:

I figure if anyone knows or knows someone who knows it could be you, but why all the issues with the Bloodline book saying Ren was 23 when he left when it was previously thought he was younger? I thought that Pablo..uh, Whatshisface said the books don't dictate the movie canon and when the info is conflicting to defer to the movie (super paraphrased)? Please correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks.

The thing is, the movie doesn’t explicitly or even implicitly tell us anything about when Ben was turned to the Dark Side. The best we have is one line in the released script about how Han saw his son’s face for the first time as a man. That line is VERY open to interpretation, not least in a movie so focused on the subject of legacy and inheritance as TFA. Personally, I choose to interpret as this is the first time Han see’s his son as a grown man, rather than the little boy he’d been communicating with during Ben’s time at the academy. After all, parents are extraordinarily adept at not seeing how their children have grown up without them.
Plus while the books cannot dictate to the movies, the movies can certainly dictate to the books, and Rian Johnson (the director of Episode 8) was involved in the writing of Bloodline at some point (enough for Claudia to give him a namedrop at least) so it’s likely she’s had a window into Kylo’s backstory that others haven’t.
As for why people have an issue, frankly, there’s a lot of people out there who took their own personal headcanon of Ben turning to the Dark Side as a teenager and being effectively brainwashed into following Snoke a bit too seriously. Having actual canon disprove that theory and underline the fact that Ben made a decision of his own accord to become Kylo Ren upset a lot of those theorists, and for some people even damaged Kylo’s potential redemption arc. To those people, I’d point out that Ben made a decision to fall, and all that means is Kylo is free to make the decision to rise