The Treasure of Books
Andy relates some of the tales he was introduced to by his grandmother and they are truly dark. He describes some of the children’s stories of the past as filled with parental abandonment, cannibalism, murder, deception, cowardice, and so on. But without adversity, we don’t have the opportunity to grow and develop our qualities, like courage.
“What is the worst thing that can happen?” is a question he asked and explored in his stories. Such stories can teach us to think outside of the box.
In his writing his first aim is always to entertain the readers and not to teach a message since that turn people off pretty quickly. Instead, by placing his characters in wild situations, he can allow children (and also adults) to become aware of what we choose to do and the results of our choices. Children can tell the fictional characters in the stories apart from the living persons. However, a good story, according to Andy, would always seek to restore the balance or equation between good and bad.
To conclude, when asked if he has a line that he will not cross, Andy recounts the tremendous uproar when he wrote about burning a cat. What to take away? It seems to be okay to write about burning humans, but definitely not burning animals, even non-existent fictional cat.
Andy Griffiths, Best-selling children’s author The Just! Series, Australia
Dr Simon Longstaff, Executive Director, St James Ethics Centre, Australia
Live from Young Minds Conference: Awakening Young Hearts and Minds
His Holiness the Dalai Lama will join us in Young Minds 2013.
WORDS BY “MYSTERY BLOGGER” WAI CHEONG KOK