I'm pretty sure Sharon didn't mean it quite the way it sounded. It may be many years since she read a children's book but I've heard her mention favourites like Tom's Midnight Garden and The Owl Service so I know that she knows that exquisitely-written children's books do exist.
As she's a teacher she should also know that well-written children's books must exist if we are to have any hope for the future of Malaysian literature - or even see our children grow up to appreciate good books.
Iain Buchanan read excerpts from Fatimah's Kampung at Readings and we sold 20 of this beautifully-written and -illustrated book that celebrates the the beauty of the Malaysian countryside, laments its destruction, in the name of development, and serves as a gentle reminder to our children that their future and the future of the Earth depends on the care they show to the land.
Fatimah's Kampung is a book that will move and entertain readers of all ages.
I have interviewed Iain for StarMag and will post the article on this blog as soon as the paper publishes it.
In the meantime, I'm going to post these wonderful quotes about children's literature from some famous writers who believed that books are never too good for children. If anything, they are more likely to be not good enough ...
"There are good books which are only for adults, because their comprehension presupposes adult experiences, but there are no good books which are only for children," said the poet W. H. Auden.
"I am almost inclined to set it up as a canon that a children's story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children's story." - C. S. Lewis, author of the Chronicles of Narnia.
“You cannot write for children They're much too complicated. You can only write books that are of interest to them.” - Maurice Sendak
"The main trouble with children's books is that many writers and many publishers feel that because they are catering to young minds that pretty much anything will do. They don't admit that, of course, but it's true just the same." - Hugh Lofting
“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” - Madeleine L'Engle
"Another trouble with the average writing for children is that authors always seem to think they must 'write down' to them. I have found that the intelligent children (and I am afraid that the intelligent children are the only kind I am interested in) resent nothing so much as being written down to. Which, of course, is very natural. We adults resent also, if we think a superior intellect is patronizing us. What the intelligent child likes is being "written up" to. He wants promotion; he wants to get into the adult world; he wants progress; and I have always maintained and always will maintain that there is no idea too subtle, no picture too difficult to be conveyed to a child's mind, if the author will but find the proper language to put it in." - Hugh Lofting