Books and school libraries
Sir, – The Irish Times accuses me of banning from our main school library such children’s fiction as the Alex Ryder, Cherub and Artemis Fowl series (“Headmaster bans ‘brutal, banal’ Irish books from UK school’s library”, Culture, Online, March 29th). This is incorrect: they remain there, and are popular.
However, it is true that I have not included any of these books in our Year 7 (11+) classroom libraries. Instead, I chose 100 varied titles and tried to include as many different authors as possible.
It is also true that I believe some books are more challenging, more humane, more likely to help children to develop empathy and fellow-feeling than others. No doubt even this mild credo will be deemed by some commentators a literary blasphemy. However, in terms of prose style, character development and the depiction of human relationships, there really are better books than the “production line” series that do rather more good to their publishers’ profits than to the imaginations of their readers. – Yours, etc,
King’s College School,