Saturday, 28 July 2012

No, that's why it's WORTH so much

Today's quotation comes from the beloved 1998 film, "You've Got Mail." I was inspired to write the following after rewatching this movie last night, so continue reading, if you please.

Tonight I watched "You've Got Mail." Kathleen Kelly and her Shop Around the Corner made me realize something. I want to write. Not in the journalistic style of a blog, but in the way I longed for smooth pencils and clean lined notebooks back in third grade. Last summer I was visiting Toronto, Ontario when I happened to pass by the Scholastic publishing house. Even such a short time ago, I had been unsure of my path, only knowing that I did not want to teach. The life-size Clifford charging up the wall behind the staircase, visible through the glass-fronted establishment, seemed to point me right to it: you will be an editor. You will not write a book of your own (I acknowledged this as meant to be and not in a self-deprecating way), but you will help others. You will give them the chance that no other has given and you will make them happy.

I do not necessarily feel that when it comes to jobs one may be worth less and another more, but now I feel I could do more. And I think children's literature could do that for me as well. These are the stories that teach us who, where, and why we are. They demonstrate the value of hope, the depth of love, and the possibility of magic. They make us smile and they make us cry. They make me wish I had enrolled in the Children's Literature course. Do you want to know something shocking? I didn't take it because it is one of the few English courses that DON'T ACTUALLY COUNT towards my degree. As an English major. I've never really been bothered by this before, instead just mindlessly avoided the class, selecting instead Renaissance Lit or the History of Theory and Criticism (that was mandatory, by the way), but now it strikes me (no pun intended) as a slap in the face to authors who write to a young audience. If schools of academics and the intellectuals of our future, and in the same discipline as many of these writers no less, don't take them seriously, who will?

The answer that comes to me is of course, the children. There will always be the children learning to love, read, and be inspired by the people who have said "You know what, Department of English? Children's literature is worth something to ME."


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