Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Whatever Happened To Roald Dahl?! - Remembering Books From Our Childhood

Does anyone remember this book? Please say you do. Or at least this one? And, surely, you remember this one too, right?

Someone, please tell me you loved Roald Dahl as much as I did. I still remember sitting on the class carpet in Grade 5, listening in fascination as my teacher read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory out to us. Like, really, was he going to get that golden ticket or WHAT? And, who was that chick who kept chewing the same piece of gum all the time? I remember being so grossed out but fascinated at the same time. It was an awesome story, no?

So, a few months ago, while catching up on Skype with a friend in teacher's college at the University of Ottawa, she started complaining about how unfamiliar the children's book section is to her at all the elementary schools she had her placements at. Apparently, she and a number of teacher candidates found that a lot of the books we loved as children can't be found in many of today's elementary school libraries. At all. None of the following could be found in some elementary school libraries.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? No.

James and the Giant Peach? Nope.

The Giver? Nope. (By Lois Lowry, remember this one??)

Tuck Everlasting? Nope.

Matilda? Nope.

The Velvteen Rabbit? Nope.

A Wrinkle in Time? Nope. (By Madeline L'Engle, remember?)

Charlotte's Web? NOPE.

The Secret Garden? NOPE. I KNOW. Travesty.

The Hobbit? NO!!!

I know these books are hardly classics. And, of course, we all have different books and genres that we remember fondly, but the fact that copies of the above books are non-existent in some of today's elementary schools actually makes me really sad.

Because, you know what can be found in their libraries instead?

Apparently, there are copies upon copies of Twilight.

The entire series.

Now, I don't mean to bring on the wrath of Twihards (in fact, I call many Twihards my friends), I just want to lament the decline of 90's children's and teen fiction in today's libraries. I'm actually quite sad that the chances of a child reading The Giver is less today than they were ten years ago. They aren't life-changing, thought-provoking, classic literature, but they were books I really enjoyed when I was younger. And the fact that some kids these days won't get the chance to discover these awesome books, these unfogettable stories actually saddens me more than I thought it would.

I would assume that because new copies of these book haven't been published in years (probably for more than a decade), tattered elementary school library copies have been donated to your local Value Village, Goodwill, etc., and haven't been replaced.

Can you imagine? A student in elementary school never hearing about or getting their hands on a Roald Dahl book? Ever? They were staples back in the day.

I'm aging myself, I know. I'm old.

I may be the only one lamenting the loss of Tuck Everlasting in today's libraries, but if you share my love for 90's children's literature, at least I can rest on the fact that there are still lovers of Roald Dahl, Lois Lowry, and the like out there. Cheers to that.

And, I think I may go re-read my copy of The Giver now. Just because.

"It is astonishing how little one feels alone when one loves."
- John Bulwer

“In life and love, it is better to know and be disappointed, than to not know and always wonder.”

1 comment:

  1. No Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? No The Secret Garden? Hm, conspiracy! Vain attempt at washing out British literature.

    I still wish I was Matilda...