On this day….
1987 – The publishers of Enid Blyton’s Noddy books bowed to pressure groups and agreed to expunge all racism from them by changing the golliwog characters to gnomes.
Ever since there has been great debate on Enid Blyton’s work among literary critics, teachers and parents mainly due to the themes of her books, particularly the Noddy series. Some libraries and schools banned her works, which the BBC had refused to broadcast from the 1930s until the 1950s because they were perceived to lack literary merit. Her books have been criticised as being elitist, sexist, racist, xenophobic and at odds with the more liberal environment emerging in post-war Britain, but they have continued to be bestsellers since her death in 1968.
Everyone’s view on this topic will probably be different. I grew up reading the Enid Blyton’s books and I loved them. I had no concept of the battle taking place in the media regarding any underlying racism, sexism or otherwise. Instead the stories enhanced my childhood love of reading and the simple straight-forward stories meant I always knew I was about to go on an adventure. Particularly, I loved the famous five stories and have great memories of my grandma reading these with me. They captured my imagination and I used to take our dog out into the garden the next day, ready to have our own adventure. My heart leapt with excitement when lately my 5 year old niece revealed that grandma had bought her some famous five books in a charity shop and would I want to read them with her at bedtime. So for me, Blyton’s stories have made it through four generations, each with their own opinions and attitudes of the times the generation lived in, yet they are still stories that can bring families together.
For those interested in creating characters for children I think this site is quite a useful starting point – 5-tips-for-creating-characters-for-kids