Arts

Anne Fine deplores 'gritty realism' of modern children's books

by Jack Malvern and Jackie Kemp

Former Children's Laureate Anne Fine said that modern stories offered little hope for their protagonists

Once upon a time, in the spiffing 1950s, characters in children’s books enjoyed wonderful adventures after which they all lived happily ever after. By contrast, reality weighs heavily on today’s young readers, a former children’s laureate has warned.

Anne Fine said that cosy tales in which children’s characters looked forward to future adventures had been replaced by gritty stories that offered no hope for their weary protagonists.Contemporary literature is dauntingly bleak, with depressing endings that do little to inspire.

Former Childrens laureate Anne Fine reads to children from Hermitage Park School, Leith

(Colin Hattersley)

A new system for reading music

Every Good Boy Deserves Failure.   And All Cows End Gorily - or is it Eat Grass? Generations of children have struggled over mnemonics designed to help them translate five black lines and a series of dots into music. Some accomplish this feat; some - like me - remember little except these disjointed sentences. But that could soon be history, according to a charity that's introducing a music notation system to the UK from Finland that is accessible enough for the youngest children to understand. "A revolution in music education is under way," says Brian Cope, of Drake Music Scotland.

Read more: A new system for reading music

Scottish designer's art for windows

As a child, Sarah Campbell spent her summer holidays on the Isle of Lismore. On walks, she and her artist mother would pick tufts of sheep's wool from the barbed wire fences and take it home. There they would wash, card and spin it, turn it into fabric on a loom and dye it.

Now working as a designer, Sarah has woven those childhood lessons into the one-off "textile paintings" doubling as window blinds that she creates in her workshop on the tiny island which sits under the mountains of Morvern in the Firth of Lorne for her company Mogwaii Design.

Read more: Scottish designer's art for windows