I also want to mention another book that I read aloud this week to an audience including people of all ages from a baby through elderly retirees. It isn’t fantasy - indeed, it’s autobiographical - but it’s potentially mind-, heart-, and world-changing in just the ways I look for in the best fantasy. It isn’t illustrated with block prints, either, but with wonderfully expressive, sympathetic full-color paintings. But while it’s neither block printing nor juvenile fantasy, it is a beautiful book to read aloud with anyone. It’s Desmond and the Very Mean Word, and tells an incident from the childhood of Desmond Tutu. When some boys hurt him, Desmond tries running away, then he tries striking back, and finally he tries reconciliation. It’s lovely - and on Sunday even a pair of squabbling siblings in my audience got the message! Yes, books have power, and yes, their power is often amplified by reading aloud. So pick a good book, find someone to share it with, and read aloud!
[Pictures: A Masquerade, woodcut by Joan Hassall, from Jack & Alice by Jane Austen, 1957-62 (Image and story at pemberly.com);
Desmond’s new bike, painting by A.G. Ford, from Desmond and the Very Mean Word by Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams, 2012.]