Thursday, January 05, 2006

It Wouldn't Take Much For Me To Be Overwhelmed

My fellow kidlit bloggers are full of news about more kidlit blogs and websites. Big A little a directed me to the Planet Esme Reading Room (which I don't totally understand)and I also discovered Planet Esme. From there I found Jim Trelease's website. Jim Trelease was speaking and writing about children and reading a good two decades ago.

As I've whined about before and will probably whine about again, there is now just so much about kidlit on the web. I'm thinking about dropping a couple of blogs that aren't updated very frequently from my list of daily reads. When that happens, I can add another.

"Our Dominant Culture Is Visual, Not Literary..."

In a slide-show essay on how Pixar's animated films became the best literature around, Lee Siegel Slate's art critic says that sophisticated animated films are filling a literary void. Siegel claims American novelists often write contrived stories with cartoon-like characters. Pixar's cartoon characters have more depth.

Siegel is talking about adult fiction, not kidlit. He's also talking about writers I haven't read so I can't agree or disagree with his argument. Nonetheless, as a serious reader who has many family members who have rejected the activity, I found the essay thought provoking. Are young people turning to visual "literature" because of some kind of failing in the written kind? Maybe TV isn't the bad guy in our culture's turn away from reading. Maybe it's us. Maybe we're not creating a written word that's compelling enough to keep readers.

And if you start thinking of film, which does have story lines, characters, settings, themes, etc., as a sort of literature, is the moving away from the written word to the "visual word" are a major tragedy? Maybe we're just talking about evolution.

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