The prose in A Country Called Childhood sings a song we all need to stop and listen carefully to–and the prose not only has important content, it is beautifully crafted. Jay Griffiths has composed an eloquent tribute to childhood across time and culture. I found myself wanting to write down phrases, sentences, indeed, even paragraphs, as I read this book. Her ability to play with language imitates the very need she writes about–play and how important it is for all of us, not just children.
The research alone makes this book noteworthy, but she also weaves in allusions to literature, popular culture, and mythology. She looks at how enclosure laws encroached upon childhood, moving the Keep Out signs from property to children’s bedroom doors. I find myself telling everyone (on twitter, in person) they need to read this book to understand the state of the modern teenage mind. There are ways we can heal the cracks in our children’s childhood, and this book offers a way to consider those options.
*A.N.Whitehead “there is only one subject matter for education & that is Life in all its manifestations”
*”Without self-will, children’s well-being may be affected. Without wildness, they can go crazy.”
*”The experience of being bored has been linked to the rise of capitalism.”
*”Play is life-jazz. It relies on a sense of swing. It dances with the moment when the moment is calling for a dance.”
*The risk-averse attitude of modernity is not only annoying but conceptually malevolent. ”
*”The fashion for hoodies arose at the same time as increasing surveillance.”
*”Art’s first demand is freedom so imagination can circumnavigate a world.”
*”The human heart’s love for nature cannot ultimately be concreted over.”
*”It is the very nature of the child to want to learn, yet society has historically contrived a school system that is half factory, half prison, and too easily ignores the very education children crave.”