As we noted in Quillblog last week, British children’s book publishers are gearing up to begin putting recommended age ranges on the covers of all their books. According to a new piece in The Daily Telegraph, however, a lot of big-name authors “ led by none other than Philip Pullman “ are drawing a line in the sand in protest.
Mr. Pullman told The Daily Telegraph: “I don’t mind anybody having an opinion about my books. I don’t mind a bookseller deciding they are for this age group or that, or a teacher giving one of my books to a child because they think it is appropriate.
“But I don’t want to see the book itself declaring officially, as if with my approval, that it is for readers of 11 and upwards or whatever. I write books for whoever is interested. When I write a book I don’t have an age group in mind.
“I have had letters from children of seven who say they have read all the way through His Dark Materials and they have an astonishing knowledge of it. But not every child is the same. A child of nine might be tentative and unsure about reading, and to give them a book that says 9+ will reinforce their sense of failure. The book should be suited to the individual child.”
Anyone unsure as to whether a particular book is appropriate should ask the bookseller, Mr Pullman said.