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"If you let the read twaddle, they will eventually write twaddle."


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"If you let the read twaddle, they will eventually write twaddle." Sorry, I don't remember who said this.

 

 

Can I ask how do you define twaddle? I define it as science fiction. My DD loves to read it and she borrows books from friends because I hate to buy it and ship it here. (English speaking libraries don't exist where I live.)

 

I buy books from Sonlight, Veritas Press, 1000 books classical literature, I then look at boarding schools and buy books that recommend for summer reading. So DD has good books to read and she will eventually read them when she gets bored with her own books. But if the child likes science fiction (current fad in Tamora Pierce), then do you simply say no more? I picked up one of her books and felt that DD (age 10) could write just as well as the author. DD doesn't think so because Tamora Pierce can grip your attention, but she does it with small words.

 

Anyhow.. do you allow your children to read books that you don't think have much value?

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Yes. Just like I permit my children cupcakes once in a while as a regular old snack. I won't classify an entire genre as twaddle either. As it is right now, my children pick about one book a week on their own. We read much more than that.

 

I also read twaddle on occasion. There are just time when I want to be mindlessly entertained.

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It sounds like a CM-inspired quote, if not from Miss Mason herself.

 

I think there is some truth in it. People tend to think and express themselves in the style of the people they spend time with. In the case of writing, the books a person reads are the "people" they spend time with. A bit of twaddle in an otherwise well-selected set of books won't do much harm, just as an occasional contact with a poorly-spoken friend won't substantially change a person's speech. However, a steady diet of twaddle, to the exclusion of better works, will tend to lower a person's standards as to what constitutes good writing, and that will naturally come out in their own writings. (Most of what I read at the moment is fan fiction :blushing:, and my standards as to what constitutes good fiction and good writing have dropped dramatically - it's pathetic.)

 

However, I don't consider all of science fiction and fantasy to be twaddle. Lord of the Rings is fantasy, after all. There is well-written sci-fi/fantasy and twaddle-y sci-fi/fantasy. As is so often quoted, "90% of everything is cr@p." This is as true of sci-fi/fantasy as anything else. Good sci-fi/fantasy books create worlds in which they can explore human nature in new and innovative ways.

 

As for Tamora Pierce (fantasy, not sci-fi, fyi), she is a well-regarded author. I'll admit my standards aren't as well-calibrated as I'd like, but I found her books intriguing and thought-provoking. Particularly about how the characters interacted with the gods - how that compares to real-life religious beliefs and the contrast to a Christian worldview. As for her writing style, I can't speak to whether it is good or merely entertaining (a la Dan Brown), but use of small words is not in itself a sign of bad writing (Hemingway, anyone?).

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I'm at a bit of a loss here.

 

Science Fiction is a genre, not any kind of indicator of quality. John Wyndham, Margaret Atwood, Isaac Asimov, H.G. Wells, C.S. Lewis...All have written Science Fiction. If good and worthy writing is defined by technical abilities and the skill with which a writer crafts compelling and important stories then whether the story is set in an 18th century country manse or a 24th century space ship should be somewhat irrelevent.

 

I've always thought twaddle (although I really dislike the whole idea of that label) said something about the quality of writing, not whether a whole genre was worthy or not.

 

If the point of limiting twaddle is to make sure your kids recognize good writing and important ideas then they'll be missing out enourmously if they don't have a chance to dive into speculative fiction. Orson Scott Card, Isaac Asimov, H.G. Wells, Margaret Atwood, Jules Verne, William Gibson, C.S. Lewis, George Orwell, Madeleine L'Engle, etc. How could any of those writers be capable of producing twaddle.

 

Now, Tamora Pierce. I don't know her. Maybe she writes "twaddle" but if your daughter likes sci fi and/or fantasy I think I'd get informed about the genres and start introducing some really great stuff along with the less then great stuff.

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I'm at a bit of a loss here.

 

Science Fiction is a genre, not any kind of indicator of quality. John Wyndham, Margaret Atwood, Isaac Asimov, H.G. Wells, C.S. Lewis...All have written Science Fiction. If good and worthy writing is defined by technical abilities and the skill with which a writer crafts compelling and important stories then whether the story is set in an 18th century country manse or a 24th century space ship should be somewhat irrelevent.

 

I've always thought twaddle (although I really dislike the whole idea of that label) said something about the quality of writing, not whether a whole genre was worthy or not.

 

If the point of limiting twaddle is to make sure your kids recognize good writing and important ideas then they'll be missing out enourmously if they don't have a chance to dive into speculative fiction. Orson Scott Card, Isaac Asimov, H.G. Wells, Margaret Atwood, Jules Verne, William Gibson, C.S. Lewis, George Orwell, Madeleine L'Engle, etc. How could any of those writers be capable of producing twaddle.

 

Now, Tamora Pierce. I don't know her. Maybe she writes "twaddle" but if your daughter likes sci fi and/or fantasy I think I'd get informed about the genres and start introducing some really great stuff along with the less then great stuff.

 

:iagree: Even if its not something you'd read for your own enjoyment, you need to devote some time to learning about it, and helping your DD to find the pearls among the twaddle. Well crafted writing in any genre can make the heart sing, and inspire the reader to strive for the same quality in their own work.

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Sorry, just realised I didn't address your question of how I define twaddle. To me, twaddle is writing that jars rather than flows. Some authors have great ideas for a storyline, but lack the technical ability to put it together to full potential.

 

I try not to limit what my DC read, but stear them towards similar works of greater skill. My DD1 loves to read Max Reme books, so I let her read them, but also try to seek out similar stories that I feel exhibit better writing style.

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Thinking about the definition of twaddle, I'd say twaddle is a superficial story that is usually also badly written. As entertaining as they may be, you tend to forget them as soon as you are done. There are no big ideas presented to think about, nothing about it that inspires you to think on it further.

 

Living books, on the other hand, are well-written stories that inspire the reader to think on them further. There is something about the characters or world they create or the ideas they present that rings true, or at least intriguing enough to think on further to see if it is true. These are the books that you can't help but think about and talk about.

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I have taught writing to junior high students for a few years now. I can, almost with perfect reliability, read a paper they have written and tell them what and how often they read. When students read twaddle (books with short, poorly written sentences, books which are dumbed down, or books churned out by authors with no interest in their subject matter) as opposed to classics, it does show. Just reading classics alone will not create strong writers, but I have yet to meet a student who writes really well who isn't also consuming a large quantity of classic literature.

Edited by angela in ohio
typo
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Shakespeare was twaddle in his time. So was Austen. Yes, they could write, but I suggest that writing, like language, goes through changes, and every genre has it's own rules.

 

So, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Simplicity of words and focusing on the story is a good thing. Writing for the populace is not bad, it's the format of a parable, or that the new testament was written in Koine Greek, which was the common dialect.

 

Do I love literature? Absolutely. But I also want to be told a story. Long live Pop fiction. Entertainment isn't evil.

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Okay, I don't know how to do an official quote, but I agree with all that forty-two said:

 

"Thinking about the definition of twaddle, I'd say twaddle is a superficial story that is usually also badly written. As entertaining as they may be, you tend to forget them as soon as you are done. There are no big ideas presented to think about, nothing about it that inspires you to think on it further.

 

"Living books, on the other hand, are well-written stories that inspire the reader to think on them further. There is something about the characters or world they create or the ideas they present that rings true, or at least intriguing enough to think on further to see if it is true. These are the books that you can't help but think about and talk about. "

 

I don't let my children read twaddle at all. Honestly, with so many good quality books out there, why waste time with the badly written ones? Or the ones that are superficial, and have no great ideas or characters in them?

 

I confess that I find many of the modern children's books to be twaddle. A lot of the adult books are, too, but we're talking about what we allow our children to read. I also hold pretty strongly to C.S. Lewis' views on reading older books, and the importance of doing that.

 

We do watch plenty of movies as a family, and I think we get plenty of pure entertainment (some of it twaddle, some of it very high quality). We don't really need the twaddle in books. That also gives us a nice amount of modern input to

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Hmmm, I'd definitely tweak that quote to read, "If you let them read ONLY twaddle . . ."

 

My kids read what they like during their free time (well, I restrict for theme, but not for twaddle, *g*). That definitely includes books that aren't 'great' or thought-provoking. Heck, I read some myself.

 

Through work, I have talked to/interviewed quite a few insanely smart, well-educated, well-rounded, high achieving young people. None of them (or their parents) have ever mentioned specifically avoiding twaddle, and a good number have mentioned reading a good bit of it as stress relief - - after a full day of impressive academics, volunteering, hobbies and so forth, they welcomed relaxing with the easy predictability of The Babysitters' Club or Goosebumps.

 

I'll do stuff like pick out extra books for them at the library, or give them as gifts, to encourage variety, but I wouldn't have a 'great books only' rule.

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Well, I consider Raggedy Ann to be twaddle: insipid, uninspired, formulaic. *duck* Additionally: anything poorly written; most retellings or re-imaginings of "classic" works; and, most books written specifically as product tie-ins. IMHO, neither when a book was written nor its genre are absolute indicators of quality. Much "genre" work is admittedly twaddle, but far from all.

 

But if the child likes science fiction (current fad in Tamora Pierce), then do you simply say no more? I picked up one of her books and felt that DD (age 10) could write just as well as the author. DD doesn't think so because Tamora Pierce can grip your attention, but she does it with small words.
I buy more. There's a treasure trove of sf/f works for kids available, including some venerable classics: Garth Nix, Eleanor Cameron, Jeanne Duprau, Diana Wynne Jones, Philip Reeve, John Christopher, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander, Nancy Farmer, Stephen Hawking, Madeleine l'Engle, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, M.T. Anderson, Steve Augarde, Sylvia Waugh, Brian Jacques, Patricia Wrede, Walter Moers, E. Nesbit, Philip Pullman, T.A. Barron, Neil Gaiman, Eva Ibbotson, Kipling (Puck of Pook's Hill, Rewards and Fairies), etc. Edited by nmoira
typo
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I'm at a bit of a loss here.

 

Science Fiction is a genre, not any kind of indicator of quality. John Wyndham, Margaret Atwood, Isaac Asimov, H.G. Wells, C.S. Lewis...All have written Science Fiction. If good and worthy writing is defined by technical abilities and the skill with which a writer crafts compelling and important stories then whether the story is set in an 18th century country manse or a 24th century space ship should be somewhat irrelevent.

 

I've always thought twaddle (although I really dislike the whole idea of that label) said something about the quality of writing, not whether a whole genre was worthy or not.

 

If the point of limiting twaddle is to make sure your kids recognize good writing and important ideas then they'll be missing out enourmously if they don't have a chance to dive into speculative fiction. Orson Scott Card, Isaac Asimov, H.G. Wells, Margaret Atwood, Jules Verne, William Gibson, C.S. Lewis, George Orwell, Madeleine L'Engle, etc. How could any of those writers be capable of producing twaddle.

 

Now, Tamora Pierce. I don't know her. Maybe she writes "twaddle" but if your daughter likes sci fi and/or fantasy I think I'd get informed about the genres and start introducing some really great stuff along with the less then great stuff.

 

Yes, this.

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Indeed. A lot of sci-fi and fantasy is actually quite good.

 

I recently read A Wrinkle in Time (Madeline L'Engle) to my son and I fell in love with it all over again. After reading some things that I don't particularly think is great and amazing writing (Dragon Slayer's Academy, the Droon series, Magic Treehouse, etc.) I was so captivated by her excellent story telling, the characters and the words she used. It was gorgeous.

 

Now we're reading Susan Coopers "The Dark is Rising" series, and it is also just excellent writing. Look for things that have won writing awards. ;) Not things that Scholastic is churning out these days.

 

Sci Fi writers also are often quite deep and philosophical (this applies to L'Engle and Cooper as well). I didn't used to like Heinlein (when I was a teenager), but reading some of it now I find his ideas quite powerful. I still am more in favor of stories with more character-centered stories, but his ideas are quite refreshing, even now.

 

And, yea, I'm a Lord of the Rings fiend. :) I anticipated the movies that came out a few years ago for 18 months of their production and visited web sites documenting the set-building and such on a daily basis. Gorgeous, amazing, powerful stories of sacrifice and brotherhood. Good and evil. And so forth.

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If the point of limiting twaddle is to make sure your kids recognize good writing and important ideas then they'll be missing out enourmously if they don't have a chance to dive into speculative fiction. Orson Scott Card, Isaac Asimov, H.G. Wells, Margaret Atwood, Jules Verne, William Gibson, C.S. Lewis, George Orwell, Madeleine L'Engle, etc. How could any of those writers be capable of producing twaddle.

 

 

 

Excellent suggestion. I will buy from these authors. I personally don't like a lot of the sci fi that I've read. Then again, I haven't read good sci fi. I will get her books by these authors and try to steer her away from others that I don't like.

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Well, I consider Raggedy Ann to be twaddle: insipid, uninspired, formulaic. *duck* Additionally: anything poorly written; most retellings or re-imaginings of "classic" works; and, most books written specifically as product tie-ins. IHO, neither when a book was written nor its genre are absolute indicators of quality. Much "genre" work is admittedly twaddle, but far from all.

 

I buy more. There's a treasure trove of sf/f works for kids available, including some venerable classics: Garth Nix, Eleanor Cameron, Jeanne Duprau, Diana Wynne Jones, Philip Reeve, John Christopher, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander, Nancy Farmer, Stephen Hawking, Madeleine l'Engle, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, M.T. Anderson, Steve Augarde, Sylvia Waugh, Brian Jacques, Patricia Wrede, Walter Moers, E. Nesbit, Philip Pullman, T.A. Barron, Neil Gaiman, Eva Ibbotson, Kipling (Puck of Pook's Hill, Rewards and Fairies), etc.

 

Thank you! I am always pleased to get names of authors for book in a large genre that I never look at. This isn't my cup of tea and I've ignored the books all together, so when DD brings home simple sci-fi/fantasy books, I've forgotten that there are some well written books out there.

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I think there is a difference between light reading and twaddle. I think Tamora Pierce's work is great light reading. There's many issues dealt with, strong characters of both sexes who work respectfully together and she produces some original ideas in a genre that can be horribly cliche. She may use small words to do that, but many of the ideas are complex. Don't throw her into the recycle bin with the Babysitters Club or any of that stuff. That is TWADDLE!

Ducking tomatoes here, but we listened to an audiobook of one of Jane Austen's short stories recently, or tried to anyway. My goodness, I can't remember the last time I read something so deserving of the adjective "twaddle." The story did not flow well and the characters were ridiculous. Characters are allowed to be ridiculous, but the heros and heroines we're supposed to be sympathising with oughtn't be. I know why I've not read this particular story before! It doesn't deserve to be printed outside of a "Complete Collected Works" volume.

 

Rosie

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Excellent suggestion. I will buy from these authors. I personally don't like a lot of the sci fi that I've read. Then again, I haven't read good sci fi. I will get her books by these authors and try to steer her away from others that I don't like.

 

While I was busy providing my then second grade son with quality literature at home, he was busy checking out Star Wars novels from the school library. He loved them...so I read a few and while I didn't exactly care for them or think them the greatest quality literature I was thrilled that he was excited about reading and seeking out books on his own. I wasn't a SF/F fan at all, but I decided that if that's where his interest was, I was going to have to get more comfortable with that genre if I wanted to connect with my kid. And so I read the quality stuff out loud to him at home: The Hobbit, all of Lord of the Rings (took us 8 months!), Narnia and later on we read all of the Harry Potters simultaneously. It didn't take long into that journey until I came not only to appreciate SF/F but for it to become a favorite. He's in high school now and to this day he's still telling me "Mom, you've got to read this book!" when he's found a new author. I never would have predicted it way back in the days of the Star Wars novels but nowadays I'll often gravitate towards a YA fantasy novel myself before anything else.

 

His "twaddle" opened the doors for us to share the experience of a lot of great literature. I've steered my kids away from books that I have other issues with but never because I consider them twaddle. Even as an adult my reading diet is varied: I have lighter, easier reading books that I keep around for times when my usual fare is too much.

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PPs have already given great definitions of twaddle (poorly written, forget it as soon as you've out it down, etc) and pointed out that there are some great sci fi and fantasy writers if you look for them. My personal faves are Heinlein, Asimov, Niven, and Scalzi (he's newer). Not all of these would be appropriate at her age though. Also, I wanted to add that there is a definite difference between fantasy and sci fi. Sci fi involves science. No elves or unicorns, or dragons unless someone genetically engineered them.

 

Sorry, it's a pet peeve.:cool:

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We have found this often to be true. When my oldest was not quite two, she discovered the Disney Princesses. She wanted so badly to read about them. The illustrations are seductive to a two year old. Over the years we have checked these books out of the library. As the library's supply of Disney books was quite limited, we quickly branched out to Cinderella from other cultures. As she grew, her interest moved to historical princesses. Today at 10, her focus is split between the "princesses" created by American Girl and Shakespeare. I can't ask for better.

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I would class it as young. I read a few this summer (at the urging of my nephew). It was fun to pretend I could talk to animals and think about how that would change my life and my decisions. I liked having something to read that had a strong female main character (unlike many classics GRIN). The main character grew and changed throughout the book (unlike twaddle) and made some difficult choices with far-reaching consequences, as well as having entertaining adventures. The writing was plain and let the plot do the work.

 

Adult scifi and adult fantasy both contain some haunting, thoughtful, beautifully written works. Usula LeGuin is a scifi writer and her books are considered literature. LOTR is considered literature. I am still haunted by a scifi short story I read in college which explored the question of creativity and originality. It changed the way I think and in my definition, twaddle doesn't do that. (For that matter, so did those Tamora Pierces.)

 

Fantasy usually tackles questions of character, politics, societies, and relationships. Scifi looks at where mankind is going and science's role in our lives, as well as politics and societies. Both of them often deal with other cultures and the interaction between them.

 

I guess what I am saying is that I think Tamora Pierces aren't great literature, but neither are they twaddle. I don't think it will hurt your daughter to read them, reread them, and love them. I think you should encourage her to grow and read more adult literature as she grows older, but let her be young while she is young. Just make sure she reads classics as well and continues to read things that challenge her. I think most of us went through phases of reading things like Nancy Drew novels. (Tamora Pierce is an improvement over those.) I don't think they hurt us.

 

Now if she were reading Goosebumps (shudder)... I tried reading one of those when they were popular, to see if I needed to discourage my sons from reading them.

 

HTH

-Nan

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My dd has had cupcakes once in her life. Guess I'm more likely to allow cupcakes than "twaddle", lol. There can be some variation in opinions of what constitutes twaddle, but if I could say, I think it's more like mental POTATO CHIPS than cupcakes. Cupcakes are dessert, pleasurable, and good in moderation. Potato chips are addictive and make you fat and sluggish. Junk reading takes time from good reading, is addictive, and makes them reluctant to step up to the challenge. There IS well-written simple material, so it's not just about reading level. If your dc is addicted to something (my dd's fettish is comic books), then it's time to bring it in check. It's real simple: take the books away. Give her a genre checklist and require diversity in her weekly reading. Limit her to one of the potato chip books a week. It takes radical amptuation to bring these addictions into balance. My dd will read nothing but comic books for a week when she goes on a binge. Once I take them away, she goes right back to reading quality stuff.

 

As far as quality stuff, is it possible you haven't tickled her fancy yet with a genre? The TQ guides are good. How about some classic Jules Verne science fiction? Living math books? Did you say you tried the VP catalog? VP lists a TON of great stuff in a variety of genres.

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It sounds like a CM-inspired quote, if not from Miss Mason herself.

 

I thought Mason was more of the "If they read quality, they will write quality" school of thought. They're not quite the same sentiment.

 

I strongly disagree that science fiction is twaddle. I'd say it's often some of the most intelligent fiction out there.

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I most object to a book that has, as its primary reason for being published, the promotion of some "related" non-book product, such as a movie or TV show, or toy or food product. The reason for the book is to whip up interest in some commercial item, not for the value of the book itself. I wouldn't call that "twaddle," though; I'd call it something else.

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I most object to a book that has, as its primary reason for being published, the promotion of some "related" non-book product, such as a movie or TV show, or toy or food product. The reason for the book is to whip up interest in some commercial item, not for the value of the book itself. I wouldn't call that "twaddle," though; I'd call it something else.

 

I, in general, agree with this. I have often talked with my children about merchandising and how some businesses are selling all this *junk* to make a buck. I've even gone so far as to talk about child labor in relation to some of the items.

 

That said, my 6yo is in a fairy phase right now. She has read all the Fairy Chronicles, and was looking for other fairy books. I talked with a friend who is an author and has a 9yo dd about the options within the selection of fairy books. A bunch of kids we know are reading the Rainbow Magic series, and I wanted her input. She said that those are definitely not worth our time, but that, surprisingly, the Disney Fairy books are actually fairly well written. It has been the oddest feeling to steer my daughter TOWARDS Disney merchandising rather than away from it, but I'd rather she read higher caliber material.

 

That said, the Disney Fairy books (or the Fairy Chronicles, which she reads more of) are clearly not great literature. I let dd read them because I learned somewhere along the way that it's important to let kids read a lot of the easier stuff for a while, because it builds reading comprehension skills. They get good at decoding, and doing it quickly, but it can take a little while for them to get good at decoding AND picking up the storyline. Also, I've read that the simple, formulaic style books are good for young kids for a while because it provides a safety net -- they're just learning to "walk" in literature, and it's healthy to hold someone's hand for a while. So I'm pretty happy that dd has settled into reading some Ok books. For the time being. At the same time, though, we do make sure that she is exposed to quality literature by reading to her or through audio books. She LOVES E.B. White, even though she's not quite ready to read him yet.

 

I saw a speaker yesterday who had some great suggestions about reading with kids... she has a new book out that I'm looking forward to. Her name is Diane Frankenstein and her book is "Reading Together".

 

:)

Anabel

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For me, "twaddle" is MOST retellings of classic lit.

Ok, so I'm not the only one who feels this way. I do read retellings to ds but there is PLENTY of scifi I would gladly profer up before rereading the version of Three Musketeers we read. bleah... Yet the reductions of Shakespeare by Bruce Coville were fine (imho) as were some of the others recommended in TWTM. The retelling of Oliver Twist we read...:glare: arg, I looked at four different retellings before picking one that I figured we would just read so the story was somewhat under ds's belt. uck. I think the actual Christmas Carol will come up soon and I don't think I shall mess about with a retelling.

Perhaps I should double check for this in the curriculum thread or do a spin-off but any suggestions of decent retellings are welcome, as I fall into Reya's camp so far...

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I would go so far as to say that (in moderation) even twaddle has it's place. Dot reads VERY well, but was intimidated by chapter books and wouldn't go anywhere near them until she discovered Rainbow Magic Fairies. :tongue_smilie:

We bought her several of those and before long she was reading far more "worthy" literature. Over the summer we read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, currently we're taking a break from Little House in the Big Wood and she's reading through a retelling of A Little Princess as her official "reading" for school. It simply took making something that I knew she could do, but she wasn't confident of, more accessible for her.

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I'm at a bit of a loss here.

 

Science Fiction is a genre, not any kind of indicator of quality. John Wyndham, Margaret Atwood, Isaac Asimov, H.G. Wells, C.S. Lewis...All have written Science Fiction. If good and worthy writing is defined by technical abilities and the skill with which a writer crafts compelling and important stories then whether the story is set in an 18th century country manse or a 24th century space ship should be somewhat irrelevent.

 

I've always thought twaddle (although I really dislike the whole idea of that label) said something about the quality of writing, not whether a whole genre was worthy or not.

 

If the point of limiting twaddle is to make sure your kids recognize good writing and important ideas then they'll be missing out enourmously if they don't have a chance to dive into speculative fiction. Orson Scott Card, Isaac Asimov, H.G. Wells, Margaret Atwood, Jules Verne, William Gibson, C.S. Lewis, George Orwell, Madeleine L'Engle, etc. How could any of those writers be capable of producing twaddle.

 

Now, Tamora Pierce. I don't know her. Maybe she writes "twaddle" but if your daughter likes sci fi and/or fantasy I think I'd get informed about the genres and start introducing some really great stuff along with the less then great stuff.

 

Shakespeare was twaddle in his time. So was Austen. Yes, they could write, but I suggest that writing, like language, goes through changes, and every genre has it's own rules.

 

So, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Simplicity of words and focusing on the story is a good thing. Writing for the populace is not bad, it's the format of a parable, or that the new testament was written in Koine Greek, which was the common dialect.

 

Do I love literature? Absolutely. But I also want to be told a story. Long live Pop fiction. Entertainment isn't evil.

 

I would class it as young. I read a few this summer (at the urging of my nephew). It was fun to pretend I could talk to animals and think about how that would change my life and my decisions. I liked having something to read that had a strong female main character (unlike many classics GRIN). The main character grew and changed throughout the book (unlike twaddle) and made some difficult choices with far-reaching consequences, as well as having entertaining adventures. The writing was plain and let the plot do the work.

 

Adult scifi and adult fantasy both contain some haunting, thoughtful, beautifully written works. Usula LeGuin is a scifi writer and her books are considered literature. LOTR is considered literature. I am still haunted by a scifi short story I read in college which explored the question of creativity and originality. It changed the way I think and in my definition, twaddle doesn't do that. (For that matter, so did those Tamora Pierces.)

 

Fantasy usually tackles questions of character, politics, societies, and relationships. Scifi looks at where mankind is going and science's role in our lives, as well as politics and societies. Both of them often deal with other cultures and the interaction between them.

 

I guess what I am saying is that I think Tamora Pierces aren't great literature, but neither are they twaddle. I don't think it will hurt your daughter to read them, reread them, and love them. I think you should encourage her to grow and read more adult literature as she grows older, but let her be young while she is young. Just make sure she reads classics as well and continues to read things that challenge her. I think most of us went through phases of reading things like Nancy Drew novels. (Tamora Pierce is an improvement over those.) I don't think they hurt us.

 

Now if she were reading Goosebumps (shudder)... I tried reading one of those when they were popular, to see if I needed to discourage my sons from reading them.

 

HTH

-Nan

All of what these posters said.

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I buy more. There's a treasure trove of sf/f works for kids available, including some venerable classics: Garth Nix, Eleanor Cameron, Jeanne Duprau, Diana Wynne Jones, Philip Reeve, John Christopher, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander, Nancy Farmer, Stephen Hawking, Madeleine l'Engle, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, M.T. Anderson, Steve Augarde, Sylvia Waugh, Brian Jacques, Patricia Wrede, Walter Moers, E. Nesbit, Philip Pullman, T.A. Barron, Neil Gaiman, Eva Ibbotson, Kipling (Puck of Pook's Hill, Rewards and Fairies), etc.

 

 

Hawking does sf/f?? The Stephen Hawking, physicist? I have GOT to find some of those!

 

I read sf/f, and really enjoy it. In fact, I'm writing a book (though it's been on the back burner since I became a Mom), and while *I* don't think it's twaddle, and my friends that have read it tell me it's a page-turner, it's probably not classic material either. I'm OK with that.

 

I like to have classics that I'm reading. But classics are WORK. And non-fiction is often WORK. Which is a good thing. But sometimes you just want to REST. Wholesome recreational activity is a good thing! And some of the modern fiction is great for that.

 

What I'd be more concerned about is the content. Sf/f has a lot of adult themes. When people restructure society to make it "fantastic" they often also restructure the moral code that people live by, frequently making their created society more permissive in some way. You also have to be careful about social agendas. I got rid of my favorite sf/f series (Sword of Truth) because I didn't like his social agenda and I didn't want my kids exposed to it (among other reasons). That had been my favorite fiction for years. I still haven't found a satisfactory replacement. Depending on what you think she's ready for, what values your family holds to, you may want to censor some of the sf/f. Though I suspect you could say that of just plain fiction as well. I don't read much plain fiction. sf/f has it all: mystery, love interest, adventure...

 

Great books are wonderful! But sometimes all you want is a quick story. I don't think that's a problem.

 

Moderation in all things.

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