Enid Blyton: The most comforting children’s books ever

The first book in the series, Timmy and Treasure, was released in January. The second story she wrote, Five and the Runaway Dog, released in May this year, features Simi, a South Asian girl, and her family who have moved into her village. Simi plays an important role in the story and is also featured on the cover. The third book, Five and the Message in a Bottle, due out in May 2023, includes a police chief of Nigerian descent. A girl wearing a hijab is featured in the images and as a resident of a village.

Another author, Jacqueline Wilson, wrote a new story for The Magic Faraway Tree series, addressing some of the original’s gender bias. The book, released in May, preserves the distant tree characters that readers know and love – Moonface, Silky the Fairy and Saucepan Man – and introduces new characters Milo, Mia and Birdy. In the revised editions, among other subtle changes, girls aren’t the only ones helping with housework and Milo is a long-haired guy who often wears pink.

The rewritten Famous Five books have been well received by young audiences, and not just in the UK, but also in Spain and Portugal, says Ahmed. “My readers see Britain they are familiar with, multicultural and inclusive,” he says.

Although Blyton is still popular in India, it does not hold a cultural monopoly on young minds. Indian authors and publishers have long been dealing with young children, and children’s book publishing in the country is going through a revolution, as publishers experiment by translating into different Indian languages ​​and exploring new topics. The Delhi-based Children’s Book Trust, a pioneer in children’s publishing that has been operating for 60 years, now reaches hundreds of readers in remote rural villages of India. Pratham Books, a non-profit publisher in India, has been producing compelling children’s stories since 2004, which have been translated into 21 Indian languages, including four tribal languages. The award-winning Duckbill, acquired by Penguin Random House, has published books on Indian characters such as Chumki in Chumki and the Elephants, a story of how a young girl learns more about the wild animals that are so much a part of her home. “These are books about children from different cultural backgrounds even within India, which give children a peek into the lives of children who are so different from them, yet so similar in many ways,” says the author of Chumki. Lesley Denise Biswas. “When books are written by different authors, their personal experiences are invaluable.”

Yet, Blyton still has the power to outdo his critics and overwhelm; as Purandare discovered that August morning, when her daughter Rumi spent long happy hours reading with her grandmother. “She made me nostalgic,” he says. “Growing up, it was all I did with my pocket money: invest it in buying more Blyton books. So, it made sense to me that Blyton was able to transcend any generation gap: be so loved and read to all. age .”

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