[Mélange de littérature]

Par E. Morning

Yesterday, as I was roving aimless through the shelves of the town’s library, I lost myself for an hour in the children’s books corner.
When I found myself again, I discovered that the last hour that had passed had been a time of profound quality, intellectually, humanly, spiritually.
Then I realized that I was the only adult reader among a gathering of children.
When I went out of the library, the town was already bathed in night ; it appeared to me that I had spent many years too far from childhood, from its culture, and I suddenly regretted that no one offered me an illustrated album since I was ten years old.
Voices fromever
Walking across the dark streets, I remembered a university fellow, who told us about the importance of tales in his native village. Old folks always sit on the main square of the village, telling tales. The children stay around, and day after day, they hear these same old stories inherited from far ancestors. Time flows. With the events of adolescence, the tales take a new signification. Time flows. And for each essential event – bereavement, wedding, birth of a child – the stories come back to memory, revealing their hidden meanings, helping to make a decision or interpret a fact. You never finish to understand a story, said our friend ; they shape lifes : in solitude, in joy, the tales come back, inexhaustibles. I know that when my life is over, one of these old stories will come, one last time, and help me embrace the light of death.
Thus, a childish tale can get along with a human’s life, and wrap it with its age-old wiseness and vision.
Aren’t our tales, from time immemorial, reaching every heart, the essence of litterature ? Don’t they remind us that litterature is a tree, that children’s litterature, adults’ litterature, are branches of this same tree, and cannot be completely separated ?
Voices forever
It is always intense to read aloud for a voice reading is a book in movement.
By reading aloud to children, you open for them the door of the world of books.
In this way you share with your children or pupils a moment that every culture, everywhere, in everytime, knows, so it gives them the key to their past, present and future…
The things we can share around the pages of a book are richer, deeper and stronger than the ones a television screen offers. Books are both the door to intimate solitude and to universal communion…
The library and the garden
Of course let’s let modernity inhabit us, since we inhabit it. Let’s initiate the children to the modern techniques. But in this era of computers, we still are bodies, with eyes, and hands, and skin, and the greatest human interactions we can have include this animal level… That is the reason why the physical presence of books is vital, for the children. Their smell, their touch become part of their physical universe before to be part of their mental habits.
Like Nature, a world where books live is a world of infinite promises and marvels.
And living in a house that possess shelves filled with books is like living in a house with a garden. It grants a limitless life, an infinite universe kept in a close space. It is the invisible door to freedom.
Enter the garder and you will do a thousand jouneys. Just with a clump of plants.
Enter the library and you will do a thousand journeys. Just with a bunch of phrases.
The library, like the garden, is alive, and brings out the ability to dream…
The forbidden books
This doesn’t abolish the distinction between adult and children litterature. The two worlds exist. But, in litterature as in life, they must be open to one another. If not, adults go drifting off and children can’t find enough earth to grow.
Even the presence of the forbidden books isn’t negative. They make dreams for the future blossom : “when I am a big I read these ones”…
The forbidden books, like the too difficult books, are an invitation, a world half open, half close. Their presence gives a burning desire to open the door of understanding. Here is the vow that the children who live in a world soaked with books make to themselves : growing, in order to understand.
Read books to the children, and let them read you books.
Culture is a river and we all bathe in it, though some differences of education and age may seem to divide us. Let’s not let books separate children from their future, separate adults from their childhoods. Litterature creates bridges, not walls.
Big, you don’t need to have children to read children’s books. It will remind you the importance of pirates, insects, huts and love for the dogs. It will wash you from the dirt of adulthood.
Child, you don’t need to understand every word to read adults’books. For the call that a paragraph, stolen at the corner of a page, creates in your heart – this is tomorrow’s litterature. The one that you will search for, summon, or write.
30 mai 2006

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