Posted by on April 20, 2019 8:00 am
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Categories: µ Newsjones

Oxford don champions children’s books as figures show that sales to adults are soaring

By day, she researches the poetry of John Donne as a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. But in the evening, when Dr Katherine Rundell wants a bit of comfort, she reads Paddington. “As an adult, the thing I love about Paddington is that the structure Michael Bond has built into his books is one of hope. Things which appear to be negative turn out to be just cogs in the greater machine. I think Bond sees life as miraculous – and that’s in the structure of the book.”

In her own forthcoming work, Why You Should Read Children’s Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise, Rundell argues that children’s literature offers unique insights and distinctive imaginative experiences to adults. “Defy those who would tell you to be serious,” she writes, “those who would limit joy in the name of propriety. Cut shame off at the knees… Plunge yourself soul-forward into a children’s book: see ifyou do not find in them an unexpected alchemy; if they will not un-dig in you something half hidden and half forgotten.”

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