Joan Aiken, Children’s Author

February 19, 2010 at 12:43 PM Leave a comment

OK, she really is a children’s author, writer of the popular (in England, at least, in the ’70s) Wolves Chronicles series. And I remember reading some of her books when I was a preteen and then some of her adult fiction. Check out www.joanaiken.com–it’s a neat website with great graphics.

I found Castle Barebane at a library book sale and started reading it a little while ago. This is one of her later books, published in 1976, and set in the 19th century, and has a fun feminist feel. (I know, what could be fun about that, but imagine writing a book in the ’70s about women’s lib in the Victorian era.) Not exactly children’s literature, though. But making conversation with Shira, and knowing how much she loves princesses, castles, and girly things, I started telling her a 4-year-old’s version of the story, starting with a detailed description of the dress the main character, Valla–who is a far cry from a princess yet reminds me of the paper bag princess—wears to her engagement party. The story works surprisingly well for Shira–as I’m reading, I’m picking up on parts that will interest her to the point that the other day she told me, “Mom, you have to read more so you can tell me what happens next.”

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