Classic children’s literature

Even if you are not an academic or a teacher, read to your child. If you can’t afford books, take them to a public library. If you read, so will they. Give them that gift. They will thank you for it later.

Hilda Boswell’s Treasure of Poetry. All the illustrations looked like they were set in Europe – who in South Africa used fireplaces? But I thought they were beautiful in any case, and could not stop looking at them.

My love of reading and writing started with my parents reading to me; children’s poetry, like A Child’s Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson (1885), and Boswell’s Treasury of Poetry, and fairy tales, like the classic collections by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Wilhelm Hauff, Charles Perrault and the Tales of a Thousand and One Nights. From the fairytales I moved on to the best in the world of children’s literature, and never stopped reading. The illustrations in these children’s books were my start to a love of art and a sense of aesthetics. But it is the poetry that gave me my love for the words, the lilt and rhythm, playfulness and punning, and imagery and ideas of the English language. I was lucky – my parents were teachers and librarians, and not only did they read to my brother and me, but they read to us in four languages. (Continue reading…)

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