Sunday, 5 April 2009

The Idle Parent

Tom Hodgkinson wrote a great little piece in Saturday's Telegraph which doesn't yet seem to have appeared on I will upload a scan of it later today.

There is a quiet massacre of quality media for kids happening at the moment, largely in the name of cost-cutting during the credit crunch. The fightback starts here....


  1. I don't claim to be an expert in children's publishing but it seems to me that we set our sights very low in this country.

    I went to the Bologna children's book fair a couple of weeks ago and it was embarrassing to see just how unadventurous the British and US publishers were, when compared internationally. Basically their stands were crammed with books about dinosaurs, creatures from the deep, fluffy baby animals and stories about how said baby animals can't get to sleep. All nicely produced and with some great illustration work, but mostly unambitious.

    On the other stands -- Spanish, Korean, French, Japanese, Iranian etc etc -- there was a much more adventurous range of subjects and styles which credit kids with a bit of intelligence, rather than treating them as arms of the Disney industry.

    That's partly why it was so sad to see the DFC go. Its failure could be used as another excuse for more tat for kids: 'Oh Random House tried an intelligent comic and it just didn't work... there's no market for it in Britain... let's churn out another ad-filled mag based on a TV spin-off.'

  2. That's so true. I think British children are just as adventurous and eclectic as their European cousins, but the editors here do seem to be terribly risk-averse. This is probably why most kids I know (especially boys) give up on reading around age 10-11 and watch DVDs or play computer games instead.

    This blind spot is of course an opportunity for enterprise. If somebody would publish exciting, inventive, action-packed, imaginative stories full of thrills, spills and surprises then I am sure that boys would return to reading - and it wouldn't put girls off either!

  3. - David Fickling vows to bring back DFC. Please follow the link to my news story