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Little Hands

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Ben Williams’ formative reading experiences

The Blue Editor Returns -- Ben Williams

Far, very far away and many years ago, in an era before The New Suffolk Hymbook and Book SA, Ben Williams had little hands and this is what he read …

Ben’s earliest memory of books and reading:

I can’t remember! But my earliest memory of taking pleasure in a book is sitting with D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths, totally lost in it, when I was, what, six or seven?

Ben’s picture books:

Goodnight Moon tops the list – I will never forget the inspired rhyme, “Good night to the old woman saying ‘hush’ / Goodnight mush”.

Ben, as an adult, reading with children:

I’m neither a parent nor a caregiver, but I do enjoy reading aloud to children – especially stories that feature monsters, and you get to pretend to be scary.


Goodnight Moon was first published in 1947, and is a highly acclaimed example of a bedtime story. The content depicts the process of a little one saying goodnight to everything around: “Goodnight room. Goodnight moon. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon. Goodnight light, and the red balloon… Goodnight Moon is classic children’s literature in the United States. The text is a poem, written in simple feminine rhyme, describing a bunny’s bedtime ritual of saying “goodnight” to various objects in the bunny’s bedroom: the telephone, the bunny’s toyhouse, etc. The narrative’s rhythm, and method of visiting each bedroom object in turn, make for a very calming bedtime read…Goodnight Moon slowly became a bestseller. Annual sales grew from about 1,500 copies in 1953 to 20,000 in 1970; and by 1990, the total number of copies sold was more than 4 million.”
(Quoted from Wikipedia )

The Original Blue Man -- Ben Williams

Aims of The Little Hands Trust
• To support initiatives that promote reading for enjoyment.
• To mentor African literary artists, including writers, illustrators and editors, to produce creative, suitable and appropriate children’s storybooks for children of various ages with a focus on early childhood (ages 0 to 9 years).
• To collaborate with African publishers to increase and sustain publication of children’s books in African languages. To initiate and support translations of stories between African languages, from African languages to ex-colonial languages and from ex-colonial languages to African languages.
• To help to orientate and educate adults in the importance and significance of reading to and with children.

 

Recent comments:

  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    July 18th, 2008 @22:25 #
     
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    Eek! What the heck is that? Oh - a lumberjack wearing a mask.

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  • <a href="http://liesljobson.bookslive.co.za" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    Liesl
    July 18th, 2008 @22:47 #
     
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    Once upon a time there was a tall blue man who had a big blue collar and blue wire spectacles.

    When he read horror stories to small children, he'd shake his wild blue hair and gnash his straight blue teeth. He'd try very hard - always with both hands - to appear as a convincingly terrifying monster.

    He never quite succeeded. It made him sad and a mite frustrated that small children were never truly terrified. They'd try to look like they had been frightened out of their wits - just to make the tall blue man feel like he had done a good job . They did not, after all, wish to see watery blue tears running down around the blue mole on his cheek.

    What the tall blue man never figured was that even when he was making the most demonic blue noise, snorting and bellowing, hissing and growling, the children could always detect a faint blue smile.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    July 18th, 2008 @23:16 #
     
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    PS - in my e-haste, I think I got the "hush" line wrong. Correct line is, I belive - "Good night to the old lady whispering 'hush'".

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  • <a href="http://karinamagdalenaszczurek.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Karina</a>
    Karina
    July 19th, 2008 @11:28 #
     
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    Alex, Ben, I think the drawing is great!

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    July 19th, 2008 @11:49 #
     
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    Hahaha, Liesl I love the story of the snorting, bellowing, hissing, growling blue man with a faint smile! It's classic.

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    July 21st, 2008 @09:02 #
     
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    My only experience with Good Night Moon is when tough girl cop, Kima in The Wire makes up her own version for her son looking out the window of her tenement block; something along the lines of "good night dealers, good night crack whores..." I'm assuming the original is less, er, provocative.

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    September 24th, 2008 @16:37 #
     
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    Return of the blue editor -- I’m not sure when Ben is back, but I was working on a ‘portrait’ of Pamela Jooste and discovered a new way doing things, since Ben really hated this funny picture of the blue man I thought I’d give it another try. Therefore here again is the editor in three shades of blue. We’re missing you around here Ben, hopefully you’re due back soon. That said, Liesl, you have been doing a stellar job of keeping Book SA and all of us up to date with EVERYTHING, thank you:)– Liesl, your PC must be smoking and I don’t know how you have time to do all the things you do. I'm in awe.

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