Thursday, April 8, 2010


I suppose you've never heard of Jean-Philippe Arrou-Vignod. He's French and has written a heap of children's books and some adult ones, too. His thing is mainly humour and detective stories, one often going with the other, of course. His only works published in English so far are the Rita and Whatsit series, about a little girl and her dog, who doesn't have a name, but who has plenty of attitude to compensate. Arrou-Vignod also wrote a series of novels for 9+ about his own family life in the late 1960s, which is in the league of Nicholas for humour and quirkiness and which reminded me somewhat of Eoin Colfer's Legends series. I was reading an interview Arrou-Vignod did for a non-fiction book about the power of story in children's literature and I found myself very much taken by his philosophy. Here's what he has to say:
"I like the 8-12 age group. It's the end of early childhood, but at the same time the children are not autonomous yet and they haven't entered the complex world of love relationships. They are too young, I think, to be given a realistic and worrying image of our world... As a children's writer, I believe I have a responsibility: to give young people books that make them want to live life, books that give them energy."
"Joy" and even "euphoria" also come up in this interview. "Reading makes you want to live" Arrou-Vignod concludes. "Living makes you want to write". Let's get our pens and books, then!

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