Monday, October 24, 2011

Thoughts on joining a club that would have me as a member

I'm still grinning about finding myself, for the second year running, on the Astrid Lindgren Award longlist.

It's a very long list of very amazing people doing good and powerful things for children's literature and literacy around the world - writers, illustrators, oral storytellers, promoters of literacy: 184 nominees from 66 countries.

The Guardian asked how I felt about it, and I wrote a reply to them, but I wrote it on my phone, which was out of range of any signal and thus didn't send it. So it wasn't in their article.

I thought I'd put it here. Because I meant it, and I still mean it.

This is my second year on the Astrid Lindgren longlist, and I'm a strange mixture of thrilled to be picked and honoured to be in such company. Just as thrilled as I was last year, in truth.

Last year Shaun Tan won, which made me feel that the award was going to the best people. With a longlist of 184 people I feel less like I'm in competition for an award and more like I've been told I'm part of a club of people who've been doing the right thing.

Making fiction for children, making books for children, isn't something you do for money. It's something you do because what children read and learn and see and take in changes them and forms them, and they make the future. They make the world we're going to wind up in, the world that will be here when we're gone.

Which sounds preachy (and is more than you need for a quotebyte) but it's true. I want to tell kids important things, and I want them to love stories and love reading and love finding things out. I want them to be brave and wise. So I write for them.

And I'm honoured to be part of the club.

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