I’m starting to see 2015 plans and challenges pop up here and there and, truth to tell, I’ve been thinking about my own 2015 plans for a while now. Perhaps 2015 should be the year of translations. Strike that. 2015 is about reading from my book shelves. Nope, wait a minute, let’s make 2015 all about women writers. No, no, no, maybe 2015 should be…
But through all this dithering I’ve known that January will involve children’s classics. Because that is what January is. (And also somehow Don Quixote…January could be…interesting…this year.) Somehow I’m finding myself surprised that this will be the third year I’m inviting others to read children’s classics with me in January, but so it is.
As in years past, I will be reading an optional readalong title. Only one person offered an opinion when I asked a week or two ago, so The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi it is! I’ve yet to read more than one chapter (two years ago in an aborted attempt to read the Italian–I will most definitely be reading in translation this time), but I have every assurance that this is NOT your Disney Pinocchio. Not having yet read it, I can’t offer much in the way of translation options (other than be sure to look for an unabridged modern version). A little bit of internet research suggests that Geoffrey Brock’s translation for New York Review Books Classics is well regarded (although I should note his is an American English translation, which I know bothers some). For those looking for original illustrations and/or a bilingual version (Italian and English on facing pages), look for the translation by Nicolas J. Parella (University of California Press). And much praise can be found for the 2004 edition illustrated by Roberto Innocenti. (I can’t find the full name of the translator for this one, just “Murray.”) Although Ann Lawson Lucas also apparently has a fairly well-known modern translation, one site I found warned that she turned “tortellini” into “steak and kidney pudding,” and translated “Geppetto” as “Old Joe” which is enough for me to stay away! (There IS such thing as over-translation, I think.)
- During the month of January, read as many Children’s Classics as you wish and post about them on your blog and/or leave a comment on the event page on this blog. I will have a link page starting the first of the year to gather posts so that we may share as we go.
- The optional RAL title: The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. I plan on discussion the weekend of January 23-25.
- I’m not going to be the “children’s classics” police. Use your own judgement for what fits the category but if you want some guidelines, these are what I’m going by:
- I think many of us have read more recent children’s books that we may already deem “classics” (for example, many people feel that way about the Harry Potter books), but for this event, I’d prefer if we read books that were written prior to 1964. This will still allow a lot of options, and will hopefully avoid the “but what is a classic” dilemma! (And yes, 1964 is rather arbitrary. Rebel if you wish, but 50 years old seems a good age.)
- Defining “children’s,” especially prior to 1900 or so can be a challenge as some books we think of as “children’s” today may not have been intended that way at the time. Personally, I’d say books appropriate for approximately an elementary-school aged child or preteen (to read or to have read to them) should be fine. I’d personally also count the various fairy tales, even though some of the earliest versions were not exactly family friendly.
- Feel free to include books from any country, in translation or not. I have limited exposure to non-American children’s lit, so I’d love to learn about books from other countries myself.
- Feel free to double up with other events or challenges if you wish.
- And if you need ideas I posted
- There is no deadline for joining or participating (other than, of course, the end of January).
Most important: Have fun!
Please let me know in the comments of this post if you are interested in participating, and let me know if you have any questions. Also, please feel free to use any of the event/RAL images on your own blogs.
Image sources: The event logo painting is Interesting Story, 1898 by Laura Muntz Lyall (1860-1930), Canadian. The RAL logo illustration is from the first (Italian) edition of Le avventure di Pinocchio. Storia di un burattino, 1883, illustrated by Enrico Mazzanti (1852-1910).