“I Avoid Them Whenever Possible”: Children’s Authors Who Don’t Like Children | Children

cChildren’s book hating children has become a thing. It has been said about Enid Blyton, A. a. Milne, Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein…and now we hear that the late, dear Raymond Briggs, the kind, angry writer and painter who became the patriotic ancestor of millions of us never met, was another. On the radio, Briggs, who died last week at the age of 88, was interviewed telling everyone, “I don’t care about children. I didn’t want any of it.”

it’s a sad thing. how to?

As a writer, daughter, partner, and mother of writers, I can tell you: There is no book like children – if said children want things from a writer when a writer wants to write. This is not limited to any particular type of writer, not even to the creators. This is true for everyone, as we now know after the lockdown that requires people to work and school at the same time at home. (I avoided this with my child by making her a writer as well, through the noble tradition of children’s work. We’ve written five books together, published in 36 languages ​​and selected by Spielberg twice. Boom!)

But I do not believe in this alleged hatred. First, of all the possible reasons for liking or disliking an individual, was there someone more than his age? And second, not caring about children In itselfor not wanting children yourself, do not hate.

In 2015, in a guardian In an interview with Sarah Hughes, Briggs refers to a photo of his late wife’s offspring. He told her, “This person wanted to sit on my head.” “I want to sit on his head,” he says and climbs up. She was beautiful.” She then wrote, “He stared into space for a moment.” Is this a person who hates children?

When Briggs was proposed to win the Children’s Prize, the answer was “No, thanks…everything that’s going on around the country, all the reservations and breakfasts and the railroads. I don’t want to go to schools and give lectures about children’s books. I don’t actually know much about Children. I try to avoid them whenever possible.”

I suspect single or well-known kids could be fine, but a bunch of little madmen and bangers bother people who work quietly. So are the kids really the ones these writers don’t care about? Perhaps A.A. Milne just loathed that the success of his children’s books had outweighed the reputation he really wanted, as a playwright. His son was not happy about being Christopher Robin, writing of the “embarrassment of toes, fist, and lip biting” and how “it almost seemed to me that my father had … snatched away my good name and left me with the empty fame of being his son.” But there is no indication that Milne Senior did it on purpose.

On the day of Parmitsva Sindak in 1942 in New York, his father learned of the destruction of the family in Europe. This was only part of the shock that made his parents, in Morris’s words, “crazy.” His dark themes were sometimes taken as aggression against young readers, an indication that he did not care about them. He himself said that if he had come from a happy home he would not have become an artist. “I refuse to lie to children,” he said, according to “the great nineteenth-century fiction that depicts childhood as an eternal, innocent paradise,” and described his job as “the stupid role of being a little person in a children’s book.” He and partner Eugene did not build a family because he was sure, from his family history, that he would screw it up. Again, I’m not convinced the kids didn’t like it.

Raymond Briggs, who created and painted The Snowman, said he tried to avoid children. Photograph: Richard Saker/The Guardian

Shel Silverstein, author and illustrator Giving TreeHe disliked dull children’s books and was not keen at first on writing for children. Plus he was a cynical young man in the sixties with an unfathomable sense of humor, and a very sad story with his daughter who died young in the care of her relatives after the death of her mother. God forbid the children’s author should be complicated! (For some people, it will always be the one who wrote Silvia’s mother.)

The myth that Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) hates children seems to be based on childlessness, which in the 1950s was taken as evidence of their dislike – while his wife, Helen Palmer, also a children’s writer, was unable to conceive. During their lives, they had a fictional daughter, Chrysanthemum-Pearl, who appeared on Seuss’ Christmas cards.

Enid Blyton, she told us – by her daughter – was “without a trace of maternal instinct”. But she also told us – from her other daughter – that she was a wonderful companion who could “communicate with children in a very nice way, and not just on the page.”

But it doesn’t matter whether or not the book can handle the more troublesome aspects of children. They just need to deal with the child’s point of view – as they would any character.

Nonsense and passion are greater enemies; Books written to appeal to adults. I don’t mean books that naturally appeal to people of all ages: they are magic books.

“People always say, ‘Well, who are you targeting this for?'” Briggs said. ‘ And I go on, ‘Books aren’t missiles, you don’t shoot them at anyone.’

In Wise Words from the novel by American writer Edward Egger Half MagicDivide the four big children into classes. The last, the best, and the rarest were those who seemed to feel that children were children and adults were adults and this was the case, and yet there was no reason why they should not get along well and naturally together, and even communicate occasionally.”

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