Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Stories for hope

A few years ago now but you can't escape the wonder
2016 has been a difficult year for many reasons when you look at the world and what has happened. Things we believed never possible happened and we roll into 2017 wondering 'what next?' This has meant that there are definitely feelings of fear and uncertainty being felt by many, including children. How do you explain to children world events?

It is at times like these when the importance of children's stories come to the fore. They give them somewhere to escape into. They give them a sense of hope. A sense of understanding. So many stories deal with the 'big issues', the universal truths in ways that they can understand. We talk about windows and mirrors when referring to diversity but it so  much more. I feel it is prism. The single white light of the reader opening the book as they first read it, only to be turned into a rainbow of knowledge as that white light is broadened/refracted as they read their way through. They may meet characters just like them or look into new worlds, seeing how characters live there. They get to experience all that knowledge that the author is bringing to their writing. They learn about that world and start to empathise with it. Adding depth to themselves without realising. Each story helps them face the world with a little less fear and a little more hope. Hope that it will be all right. We can make it better in the end. Good will win. Stories bring laughter, bring joy, bring tears, bring love, bring memories, bring the future.

This is why stories are so important and why we must keep writing stories, the best stories we can. Publishers need to keep publishing, to keep looking for new writers as well as their established ones. The world will keep turning, art and stories will keep showing the light and the way forward. We must never give up. However hard it gets. As Philip Pullman once said 'Thou shall not' is easily forgotten but 'Once upon a time' is remembered forever.  The 'Once upon a times' will be the answer. It will help the children and give them hope again. Keep writing and may 2017 be full of joy and laughter.

It is Winter's Solstice so this seems appropriate


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