Children's Books

Did you know there's a Rough Guide to Children's Books? I just discovered it at the bookstore today. There's two editions, under 5 and from 5 up. This is a very cool discovery... I'm hoping it'll have some good suggestions that are country-agnostic, because I discovered after chatting with Jim a while ago that the children in the U.K. have a whole different set of children's books. It sort of makes sense if you think that the UK and the US are different countries - but there's so much flow in most other things, I figured this would be one of those areas where the overlap was pretty strong, but it's not. Compare the children's sections on to and you'll see what I mean.

Spain also has a completely different set of kid's stuff. For example, Ana has no idea about "Where the Wild Things Are". This is great, actually. I HATED HATED that book when I was a kid. It completely freaked me out. Made me scared of the dark for years. I'm not kidding. Also, the little kid's ass was hanging out of his PJs and that tripped me out for some reason too. Alex will NEVER see that book until he's old enough to drive if I have my way. Thank goodness Ana doesn't have any complaints.

I'm in a serious bind over Curious George though. I really liked those books (from what I remember... we're talking about 30 years ago... ;-) )but did you know most of the adults are pictured Smoking at one point or another? George even tries smoking himself, but is admonished for some other reason (like he's not asleep when he should be or something). This is bad. As fascist as this sounds, I want a "clean" version of the books for Alex!! (I can't even believe I'm saying it, but it's true). I fear enough for Alex growing up in Spain where 50% of the men smoke - I don't want to start him off by giving him images which say "smoking is okay."

The last thought I have about all this is that in the past 2 years I've been here, the selection of English-language books has grown in the stores I go to. It's not like a Borders full of English books now, but small sections have grown to larger sections and I was able to buy the Rough Guide for Children's books and "10 Minutes till Bedtime" for Alex today. That's an amazing change from say, 1998 when I first visited Spain and could barely find the English-language section in stores downtown, let alone something like a selection. This is actually bad. Less incentive for me to work on my Spanish. I felt so guilty looking through English language paperbacks today I didn't buy any... not until I finish the 2 or 3 Spanish language books I've got sitting around the house already. ;-)


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