Saturday Round Up 14th Jan 2022

In this post check out the latest t news in the book and publishing industry that I have heard about this week commencing 14th January.

Enid Blyton Society criticizes The Magic Faraway Tree rewrite by Jacqueline Wilson

By RodwIllustrator: nick sharrat - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7849243
By http://media.web.britannica.com/eb-media/02/155702-004-8D54F1E1.jpg, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35425227

After 70 years, the classic children’s novel “The Magic Faraway Tree” by Enid Blyton is getting a rewrite by children’s author Jacqueline Wilson, who wrote children’s books such as The Story of Tracy Beaker.

In the new novel, the children will be educated about gender equality after the girls do domestic chores and will introduce new characters and is described as a continuation of the series by the publisher.

However, the Enid Blyton Society reacted to the news, rejecting the idea that alteration is needed for today’s audiences and that it would be futile to do so. The Administrator of the Enid Blyton Society, Anita Bensoussane, said: “Jacqueline Wilson has a very natural, readable style and I expect her book will be popular. However, it’s a pity that so much new material based on established Enid Blyton series’ is being commissioned (from various authors) at a time when a number of Enid Blyton’s original books have been out of print for some years.

She added: “The new titles by other authors may be ‘more in keeping with today’s world’ but they too will become out of date as time passes. It’s a good thing for children to understand that society alters over time, so I think it’s important to keep the focus on the originals.”

Jacqueline Wilson however, said that she is not writing a revisionist piece, instead saying “I’m not actually updating it”.  She said: “

I think the first three Far Away Tree books were quite wonderful and I mean they have been gently over the years one or two things that people would question have been edited out.

“But they’re still essentially exactly the same. I’m not touching them. What I’m doing is following on. I was asked to write another Far Away Tree story and I’m being very, very faithful to the whole situation that Enid Blyton set up with this wonderfully original idea about a tree that reaches up to different lands.

“I have three modern children going into the enchanted wood, up the tree, meeting Silky, Moon-Face, etc, and then going up and finding the different lands. So, the magic world stays the same and if anybody reads this new book when it comes out I very much hope that they will go back to the others.”

It’s written as if they’re all of a piece, but I’m simply following on and goodness knows what Enid Blyton would think about it. I’m not sure that she would be that thrilled, but she was a shrewd woman and she’d probably like the extra publicity… if it needs it – it’s never been out of print.”

Enid Blyton is an author I personally didn’t read when I was growing up though I am aware of The Famous Five. I am a fan of Jacqueline Wilson’s work however, especially Tracy Beaker so I would be keen to see how she continues the story. However I do hope that this is an entirely original story and not a retread of the previous novels as I think it is important to respect the past as it is and that attitudes were different.

Reading Books Does Not IMprove Wellbeing, Study Shows

A recent study by Oxford University has shown that consuming traditional media such as reading books, listening to music and watching TV does not improve people’s well being anymore than consuming online media.

The survey quizzed 2,159 adults in the United Kingdom during April and May 2020 about their general well being and time spent consuming different media channels.

Results show that participants reading books, magazines, and audiobooks had similar levels of happiness and anxiety as people who did not consume traditional media. Meanwhile, those who listened to music, watched television, and played video games generally had lower happiness scores and higher anxiety levels than other respondents.

Overall, however, the differences between the media forms were small and statistically insignificant.

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

As a book blogger who has blogged about the benefits of reading books before I personally do think there are benefits to reading and I also noticed the timing of the study was during the first lockdown in the UK for COVID-19 so I would wonder how much this had an effect on respondents answers.

Musselburgh Author Creates Special Books For Grandchildren

An author from Musselburgh has created a series of children’s books based on stories he told his grandchildren.

Alex Brown, 58, is celebrating the self-publication via Class Moustache Publishing of the tales of Snoozlewhoosh, a toy owl, in Evie’s Christmas Adventure and Jude’s Jurassic Journey.

He said: “Snoozlewhoosh is a character I created around seven years ago, just a year after my oldest granddaughter Evie, who is now eight, was born. I would make up stories and, as Evie got older, I would tell her about the magical world of dreams. Then Jude was born and I decided that I would one day give my grandchildren their very own picture book or early reader chapter book.”

Brown was advised to trademark the character by a friend who worked in the publishing industry, saying it sounded like something Roald Dahl created. After this he began creating a series of children’s books which were published at the end of last year. As well as these two, other titles in the series include Kayen Meets a King, Luna’s Lunar Landing and Kody’s Christmas Cracker.

I really like the idea of this character and the books sound really magical and also the fact the author created the stories to please his grandchildren adds an extra warm glow for me in this cold, depressing January month.

Princess Sophia Duleep Singh Reinvented For Kids

By Unknown author - British Library, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39660910

British-Indian author Suifya Ahmed has written a new children’s book, documenting the life of Princess Sophia Duleep Singh

The book, entitled My Story: Princess Sophia Duleep Singh tells the story of how she played a major role in the suffragette movement in Britain which granted women the right to vote. She was the daughter of Maharaja Duleep Singh – the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire and the youngest son of Ranjit Singh and growing up as a young woman in the 1900’s she threw her efforts into the suffragette movement -selling newspapers and protesting outside Parliament.

Ahmed said: “When I first heard about Princess Sophia, I was sad for that younger me who was always interested in women’s rights and who always felt like I was looking into someone else’s history. When really, it was my history too”.

She added: “Sophia was a woman who looked like me in the suffragette movement and knowing about her when I was a schoolgirl would have made a huge difference to my sense of belonging in this country. These are role models who contributed to Britain.”

In truth, though at school I had studied the suffragette movement and remember name such as Emmeline Pankhurst it is actually wrong that Sophia’s story I have never heard before reading this article but this is definitely a book I want to add onto my TBR list to learn more about who she was.

Wes Anderson Adapting Roald Dahl Story About Buried Treasure for Netflix

By Martin Kraft - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=113335090

Hollywood director Wes Anderson is set to direct a film based on Roald Dahl’s book The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, published in 1977 for Netflix.

The book is based on an amazing true story of Gordon Butcher and his boss, Sidney Ford, who discovered a large collection of Roman silver tableware whilst sloughing a field in 1942. Instead of reporting it to the authorities, the two kept the collection for themselves before it was eventually discovered after a visitor to Ford’s house noticed the ornate design and as a result the pair only received a fraction of the fee they would’ve got from finding it.

The treasures ended up in The British Library where to this day they are the most valuable Roman hoard found based on artistry and weight.

Of the new film, the only confirmed casting has been Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular Henry Sugar, though the cast includes Dev Patel, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Richard Ayoade, and Rupert Friend and is the first film announced since Netflix bought the rights to the author’s entire catalogue (already having the rights to Matilda and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory).

Overall I am really interested in this film and it is also a book by Roald Dahl I haven’t heard of and potentially a second book from this week for my TBR list.

Let me know in the comments below what your favourite story was this week and if there is anything you would like to read after reading this post.

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