Keeping the old ways

A far cry from my usual purchases from bookstores, I bought these books by Enid Blyton yesterday for the World Vision children my mom and I are sponsoring. The two on the left are for my 8-year-old (I couldn’t decide between them so I got both and will send each one to her over the course of a few months), and the third is for my mom’s 13-year-old girl from Indonesia. We have yet to get bookmarks for them, and also something for my mom’s 17-year-old from Thailand, but we’re not sure what boys like at that age.

The last time I browsed the children’s aisles in any bookstore was when I was still young enough to read books by the likes of Enid Blyton, who was the first author I thought of when I read in the World Vision guidebook that sponsors are allowed to send their children little gifts. So when I was looking through the (limited) selection of Enid Blyton books, I was taken back to a time when I was completely fascinated by Blyton’s alternate universe, where goblins and pixies and gnomes existed and lived in complete, it seemed, harmony, and everything from trees to fireplace fenders could speak. Her stories about girls in boarding schools and friends getting together to figure out who stole violins and pearl necklaces inspired me by the age of 11 to become a writer, because I wanted to be able to evoke the same kind of imagery and emotion in my writing.

Now, years later, even though it’s evident that I have not acquired the talent and vision for storytelling, I want to be able to pass on this love of the classics that has been overshadowed by the current younger generation’s preference for Ben 10 and Spongebob, especially in a society that is becoming increasingly averse to reading. And until (or unless) I have children of my own, I will do it, book by book, for an 8-year-old girl, far away in South Africa.

One thought on “Keeping the old ways

  1. Stephen Isabirye

    So Enid Blyton was one of your earliest favorites. In her autobiography, The Story of my life, Enid Blyton referred to a couple of her South African fans, including those in “Zululand.”
    Stephen Isabirye is the author of The Famous Five: A Personal Anecdotage (www.bbotw.com).

    Reply

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