The launch of the Kindle got me thinking about all the things an e-reader can never be. You can't inscribe it to a loved one or press flowers between it's pages. It can never be an object, loved and cherished and passed from person to person, with any history. Your children cannot draw upon the pages and fill it with precious memories. Illustrations look terrible on it, especially art, which needs a grand scale. For these reasons and many more, help me celebrate the real thing: dusty old books!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009


A powerful reminder, from Saviour Pirotta, of the imporrtance of books in childhood: they shape us and influence us all our lives:

"I received a parcel of letters from a school in America this week. The children have been doing a project about Ancient Greece and read my ORCHARD BOOK OF FIRST GREEK MYTHS. Their teacher had suggested they each ask me a question, which I will answer in a class email sent to her. Most of them wanted to know if I liked Greek Myths when I was a child. The answer, of course, is 'yes, I loved Greek Myths.' I pored over pictures of Greek legends and heroes before I could read the often dense text in the books. When I did learn to read, I devoured every version I could lay my hands on! I re-worked the stories to suit my own ideas. The landscape where I grew up is quite similar to Greece's, so it wasn't hard to imagine monsters rearing their heads out of caves, or triremes coming round headlands in the med.

Writing back to the kids made me think of the old Greek Myths books I had, and the wonderful colour plates in them. I thought I'd share some of the most inspiring ones with the readers of this wonderful blog."

from the Ladybird book, Alexander The Great.

From Charles Kingsley's The Hereos. The Illustrations are by H.M. Brock.

Kingsley and Brock again!

From Look and Learn Annual, [the 1974, I think}

Another pic of Bellorophom on Pegasus

One of my own versions, illustrated by Jan Lewis

Thankyou Saviour.

Saviour blogs about historical fiction for kids at
Swords and Sandals

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