If you’ve enjoyed Memoranda’s Antonia Forest discussions …

If you’ve enjoyed the Antonia Forest discussions at Memoranda, you might also be interested in these posts about twentieth century children’s books.

'The Years of Grace', edited by Noel StreatfeildI was entertained and educated by The Years of Grace (1950), edited by Noel Streatfeild. As the jacket states,

The Years of Grace is a book for growing-up girls who are too old for children’s books and are just beginning to read adult literature. It is a difficult age – difficult for parents and friends, but more difficult for the girls themselves. What are they going to do when they leave school? How should they dress? What is a good hobby? How can they make the right sort of friends? The problems are endless, and here in The Years of Grace is to be found the wisdom of many of our greatest writers and most distinguished people of our time.”

Noel Streatfeild must have realised that there was a lucrative market for this sort of thing, because she followed this up with Growing Up Gracefully in 1955. This guide to good manners for young people includes chapters on ‘Manners Abroad’, ‘When and When Not To Make A Fuss’ and ‘Don’t Drop That Brick or The Gentle Art of Avoiding Solecisms’ and it is even more amusing than her first etiquette guide.

'Friday's Tunnel' by John Verney

Readers who enjoy children’s adventure books may be interested in discussions about Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kästner and Friday’s Tunnel by John Verney.

'T.H. White: A Biography' by Sylvia Townsend Warner

Finally, here are some links to blog posts about the biographies of children’s writers T. H. White and Dodie Smith.

6 thoughts on “If you’ve enjoyed Memoranda’s Antonia Forest discussions …”

  1. I was very interested in the Swallows and Amazons post. Nicola Marlow would have been the right era to read the Ransome books, but perhaps the Naval dislike of pirates would have put her off the Amazons.
    The books are dated in the sense you discuss of using language that is racist, but I think Nancy Blackett is a timeless heroine. She’s better than the boys at most things; unlike the Marlow girls she doesn’t assume boys are supposed to be better just because they’re boys; it doesn’t occur to her that girls can’t be pirates, explorers or adventurers; she’s a born leader and exults in it. Nancy was my childhood heroine, and no fictional character I’ve met since has ever taken her place.

    1. I should track down some more of the Ransome books to read more about Nancy. Have you read Friday’s Tunnel? February Callendar is another one of those adventuring girls who’s better at being brave and solving mysteries than her brother Friday.

  2. Winter Holiday is a good Nancy book. I loved them all; my mother read the first two or three to me, then I started reading them myself once I could read well enough, many happy rereads followed. My mother’s collection consists of many first editions, quite a few of them signed. She always got given the latest one by kindly relatives for birthday/Christmas presents when she was a child.
    We Didn’t Mean To Go To Sea is another favourite, lots of sailing of course, but the characterisation of four children coping with an unexpected and dangerous situation is superb.
    I haven’t read Friday’s Tunnel, no, though I keep hearing about the Verney books on bookish blogs, so I should look out for them.

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