Letter from the editor…

Let’s get started…

Do you see what I did there? I’m in lesson planning mode at the moment. I don’t know if students ever thinks about the effort that goes into created lessons when they’re at school (I know I didn’t). This time of year, post exams, is a chance for teachers to look at old schemes of work and consider how they could be changed, improved, re-vitalised.

I’ve been helping to create the new scheme of work for The Merchant of Venice and I came across this quote from from the title page of the first quarto.

‘The most excellent historie of the merchant of Venice. With the extreame crueltie of
Shylocke the Jewe towards the sayd merchant, in cutting a just pound of his flesh: and
the obtayning of Portia by the choyse of three chests.’

This makes me think several things.

And Finally…

Have our ideas and prejudices really changed that much since Shakespeare’s day?

Some of you may remember the furor some weeks ago around anti-sematism and the Labour party; many of us watched the news reports from the Nazi march in Charlottesville and the Presidents subsequent comments about ‘good people on both sides’, with horror. Here is my question, why are we still fighting about the same things today that we were fighting about over 500 years ago?

If nothing else this has shown me that the ideas and values we see in Shakespeare’s plays are still relevant to us today.

A sobering thought, but one that motivates me to continue with my lesson planning.



The Journey Begins

Letter from the editor:

We live in a golden age of children’s literature. I feel like I can say that not because I’m old enough to have live before the golden age, thanks, but because I’ve recently looked through my Grandfather’s books.

My Grandfather has never been a big reader although he is a staunch supporter of his local library, mainly at my grandmother’s insistence. He doesn’t have a massive collection of books. What I did see were collections of travel guides, a few murder mysteries and a small collection of children’s books.

Glancing through I can see books with clear morals and nice pictures, but the big thing about these books is that, in my opinion, they’re quite boring. They seemed to be aimed more towards adults than children and they have put the clear moral message, be a good boy, be a kind boy, be a polite boy, before an imaginative plot or interesting characters.

This will clearly not be true of all books of the period, this is the era of Swallows and Amazons and The Wind in the Willows after all. However, it got me interested in the idea of children’s fiction and how it has changed over the last century.

There is an interesting piece about children’s literature on the British Library website. This is well worth a read.