Day One, Asian Festival of Children’s Content

How I love this festival.

In one day, I’ve heard Calef Brown talk about the development of his warm and witty illustrative style, and show us why nonsense books (‘Pure folly that makes sense’) are so enduringly delightful.

I’ve heard Cynthia Leitich Smith talk about why fantasy raises the bar for the suspension of disbelief, and how teenage readers identify most strongly with characters from fantasy novels.

I’ve heard Felicia Low Jimanez, Gabriela Lee, Cathy Hirano and Edmund Lim discuss the role of parents (or the absence of parents), as well as the role or desirability of books in promoting ‘good moral character’ in children, the influence of religion on content, and the current state of play with these and related matters in Singapore, the Philippines and Japan.

And I’ve heard Leonard Marcus, Dr Murti Bunanta and Deborah Ahenkorah talk about the role of awards in promoting particular types of children’s literature and illustration, and the ‘unprecedented experience’ book juries are looking for.

I’m about to go and set some illustrators to duelling. More to come.

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