No goose is an island: the Brexit picture books for children of all ages

From The Guardian:

While the adult world is having trouble getting to grips with Brexit, children’s authors are taking a new approach: translating the whole sorry mess into a story with animals, where they hope it will start to make clearer sense.

Two new picture books attempt to make Brexit accessible to children. Smriti Prasadam-Halls and Robert Starling’s The Little Island sees a gaggle of geese hatch a plan to leave their farm, only for their solitary life on an island to go wrong. And in Richard David Lawman and Katie Williams’ I Want to Leave This Book, a cast of animals vote – unsuccessfully – on which sort of story they’d like to be part of.

Prasadam-Halls’ modern-day fable, described by Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler as “an Animal Farm for our times”, has already sold out of its first print run. A paperback edition is now being brought forward to meet demand.

“In The Little Island, I’ve tried to translate the complexity of recent events into a story simple and satisfying enough for the youngest – and oldest – child to grasp and to present a conversation starter, a launchpad, to some of the more serious issues of our time,” says Prasadam-Halls, whose book opens with a quote from one John Duck: “No goose is an island entire of itself; every goose is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

. . . .

Before writing the book, she had been deeply troubled by the changes she was seeing in British society.

“We’ve started to hear words being used again that we have long considered to be totally unacceptable. It has been so troubling to hear aggressive slogans and toxic language used in the highest of offices. Language has such power and when words are used as weapons they cause great damage,” she says. “So I have tried to speak a story of solidarity and friendship into that landscape.”

Her setting felt “absolutely natural” for a dissection of the divide between leave and remain. “Farmyard animals lend friendliness and charm and bring unexpected humour and warmth to what might otherwise feel a heavy topic – especially as we see ourselves parodied in the story,” she says. “They also help us to feel a degree of empathy for all the characters – whichever side of the bridge they are … Animals help us get closer to the heart of the issues and feel a shared humanity.”

Link to the rest at The Guardian


5 thoughts on “No goose is an island: the Brexit picture books for children of all ages”

  1. where they hope it [Brexit] will start to make clearer sense.

    There are two side so the Brexit story – two widely divergent opinions. In the case of these books, “clearer sense” only applies to the opinion held by the author. Each book is propaganda.

    • Really?
      Try this:

      1- UK PM seeking to silence EU skeptics approved a referendum on leaving tbe EU.
      2- Contrary to politician expectations the vote passed. Not a supermajority but by a measurable margin.
      3- The UK is composed of multiple self governing regions, some of which were in the past independent with majorties in some more comfortable in the EU than out.
      4- The EU considers it important that the UK exit be as painful as possible to discourage other states and regions unhappy with EU lws and regulations.
      5- The biggest bone of contention is the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. The north absolute wants to stay in the UK, the south insists there be no (enforced) border between the two Irish regions. The debate is officially over where EU laws and rules end and when. (A bit deeper, it is about Ireland reunification.)
      6- The Scottish majority and dissenting minorities elsewhere want to torpedo the exit at all costs (The EU would welcome that.), arguing for a revote, hoping for a different result.

      Wars have been fought for less.

      (Note that the UK system is based on total popular vote, with no significance given to where the votes come from, so one region can override the rest. Something for opponents of the US electoral college to ponder.)

      (Also, in recent times the varios regions–Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland were granted a measure of autonomy and local parliaments but England wasn’t. For example, Scots vote for two gorvenments but the English only once. And nobody thought this would cause problems.)

      • London (and a few other large cities) and Scotland voted heavily in favor of remain, the rest of the country voted pretty heavily in favor of leave (very similar to the red/blue county maps in the 2016 election)

        and for those that weren’t following, the vote was 52-48 to leave, not a supermajority, but not a nailbiter close election either.

        • That’s well over a million difference in a 72% turnout.

          Not sure how a revote would go but with the EU trying to Hotel California the UK, there might be a second surprise in a revote.

Comments are closed.