Thursday, October 1, 2009

I love Children's Books

One of the many disadvantages of living far away from my family is that I don't have access to our huge collection of books from our childhood. There is nothing more comforting (if tinged with sadness -ah, nostalgia!) than looking through the books you loved when you were a child. It transports you back to a time when you were happily oblivious of things like bureaucracy and other nastinesses of the adult world, and when you didn't know the meaning of existential angst.

Children's books are one of life's simple pleasures.

So, to satisfy my addiction to these mood-improving things of beauty, I am building up my own collection of children's books in my home away from home. The following is a recent addition:

Barrie, J.M., Peter Pan and Wendy, Centenary Edition, Templar, Dorking 2004

This book has been on display on my coffee table for quite a while now -I just can't get myself to put it in the bookcase. I adore Robert Ingpen's illustrations for this edition. Magic.
And royalties from every copy sold go to benefit the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity.


  1. Me parece una idea mas que estupenda.
    Me encanto este articulo, especialemente ...

    Vuelve a España!!!!!!!
    kisses. kisses.


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  3. Peter Pan is a story that provided me some of my first bits of existencial angst (I think that I've started feeling angst since an early stage of my life!!! :)). Since ever I've been afraid of growing up. I don't mean I'm inmature, but it's an underlaying fear (though I try to keep some childlike amazement and attitude toward certain things). Even Captain James Hook is afraid of time!

    I read the original Peter Pan book as a grown-up a few years ago, I think the same year you stayed in Spain. I found out certain things that surprised me, like the fact that Peter killed in cold blood every boy that surpassed the age of 15. Or that Peter eventually forgets Twinkerbell and is not even aware of her death because he only lives for the present and can't conceive such things as past or future. Or that he thinks that Wendy's daughter and granddaughter are Wendy herself.
    This shows that children's book are able to cast more light over the human nature, our fears, our existence than many works of 'serious' literature and the imprint they leave remain for much more time that those 'tempus fugit', 'memento mori' or 'carpe diem' topics.

    This summer I read a superb comic book that reinterpreted the whole Peter Pan story in a modern context (the browser doesn't allow me to paste the link, but the title is "Los viajes de Juan Sin Tierra 2: La Isla de Nunca Jamás". One of the best comic-books I've ever read)

    One of my best-loved books is
    " The Complete Prose of Oscar Wilde", that contains 'The Happy Prince' and many other tales.

    Children's book illustration is an excellent field for artistic expression. Some illustrators are great artist but they're often shunned. But for me they are the natural descendants of the illuminated artists from the Middle Ages.
    Coincidentally, Yesterday I found a very interesting article in Wikipedia about Arthur Rakham, one of the best children's books illustrator.
    And also one of my favourite artists is Beardsley, who used to make illustrations for books.

    One final suggestion: Why don't you start your own series of illustations? I made a few engraving plates for "Alice in Wonderland". Just pick a book you like, some watercolours and start painting!

    Hasta la próxima entrada en tu blog!

  4. PS: Would you like to be my mother?

  5. una idea brillante en medio de un mundo egoista y siniestro donde cada vez hay menos cabida para la gente necesitada.
    Besos, bella Marina

  6. Se me olvidaba. Me gusta la idea de que los royalties vayan a un hospital para niños. Intenté unirme al programa de animación hospitalaria para niños de la Cruz Roja un par de veces. Pero primero ya había concluido para ese año y otra vez habían dejado ya de hacerlo. Me gustaría poder hacer algo para que los niños pudiesen tener todos acceso a los hospitales y la mejor estancia posible en ellos. It's one of the few causes (if not the main) that really touches my heart. And now even more after the recent events.

  7. Hello! Just stopping by to let you know that I have added you to my blogroll - so sorry it took this long!

    Andrea xx

  8. omg this is sooo beautiful. thanks so much for sharing!

  9. Fete -muchas gracias! Tengo muchas ganas de ir a tu país.

    Dan -thank you! You should start blogging again -your comments are longer than my posts-I feel very unproductive! ;-)
    Good point re Peter Pan and existential angst!
    It's good to be like a child.
    Thanks for your recommendations -will check them out.
    I am already doing illustrations. Just playing around with different styles at the moment. Will post some soon!

    Andrea - thank you so much! No need to apologise at all!

    C - thanks for stopping by! Your etsy shop looks great!

    Marina xo

  10. Children's books can be so much fun to read as an adult, but I do think that editing could be beneficial when the author has incorporated scary concepts. A child should be able to enjoy being read to and not left worried.

    blessings and hugs,


  11. I agree with what you are saying Marina. Books I read as a child were the mortar of happiness, holding together every other happy memory I have. One book I loved as a child was Watership Down, along with Alice in Wonderland, though the latter used to freak me out a little with it's strange characters and still does. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Marcy -thank you for your thoughtful comment. I agree with you, and I think it's important for the parents, or whoever is reading to the child, to talk about any content that might be scary or difficult.

    April -thank you for sharing that, and you phrased it so beautifully!
    I, too, still get freaked out by Alice in Wonderland!

    Marina xo