Friday, January 11, 2008

Adventure in Kids Books?

Ann Giles asks in The Guardian today, "Whatever happened to the classic, rip-roaring adventure books I read as a child?"
Granted, these books were old even in the 1960s, but we read them because there wasn't the profusion of children's books that there is today. I lived and breathed The Three Musketeers and The Scarlet Pimpernel, as well as anything by Jules Verne - of whom there appears to have been more translations into Swedish (my childhood reading language) than into English. I devoured Scott and Stevenson, albeit mainly in abridged versions. When did children stop reading the classic adventure stories?
Giles mentions some current books that now fill the adventure gap, including one of my favorite's, The Diamond of Drury Lane by Julia Golding. I bought mine as a Christmas gift to self in 2006 from Amazon UK. You still can't get it in the US, even though it was on the shortlist for last year's Costa prize. Several books follow Cat Royal as she continues her adventures.

My other new favorite in the adventure series form is Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy. Mary Faber is an orphan who lives a life of begging and petty crime on the streets of London. After her gang's leader is killed, she strips his clothing, cuts her hair, renames herself Jack and takes to the high seas. This is a rip-roaring good book. The ones that follow are just as much fun.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I grew up as a reluctant reader, now I write action-adventures & mysteries especially for boys 8 and up. My web site is at and my Books for Boys blog is at

    Thank you,

    Max Elliot Anderson