Real, True Stories For Children.
'Are the Rainbow Fairies real?', asked my Small Girl from the back of the car.
I had brought this on myself by impressing upon my four and three quarter year old that Laura Ingall's Little House series are real, true stories. She had, literally, slept on this piece of news and was now questioning storytime with a whole new frame of mind.
What have I done? Have I fractured my child's ability to suspend disbelief? Maybe she hadn't even had any disbelief that needed suspending. If I let the flipping rainbow fairies fall, then the toothfairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus could tumble like dominos in their wake.
I explained to Small Girl that sometimes people tell the story of what really happened and that other stories are make-believe.
'What does make-believe mean?'. Yes, we are at that stage.
'Well,' I gripped the steering wheel and tried to make-believe the right answer, 'If I told you a story about the day we went to the forest and left notes for the fairies; that would be a true story because we really did'.
'We did. But they wouldn't open their door because we were too noisy.'
'That's right. But, if I told you a story about how you and I went to a fairy castle in the clouds and ate pink sparkly candyfloss from golden plates; that would be make-believe.'
A long silence ensued.
'So Mum...,' here it came, 'if I told you a story about the day we went to Disneyland and met Doc McStuffins; that would be make-believe?'
She got it. So, now she knows the difference between fact and fiction and is willing to indulge in a little of both.
Small Girl loves the Little House series. She has identified with Laura Ingalls in a magical way that only booklovers can understand. She set off to preschool this week with her hair in plaits and wearing a pink sun bonnet. She asked if she could run through the meadow (ahem, our weedy front lawn) with no shoes on, like Laura did. She has taken to clearing her plate at dinnertime and excusing herself most politely.
I need more books like these!
I am on a hunt for more true stories for small children.
So far I have come up with James Herriot's more child-friendly veterinarian exploits and that's about it. For older children, I can think of The Diary Of Anne Frank and the teenagers in this house have enjoyed Go Ask Alice, Seabiscuit, Unbroken and The Boys In The Boat.
What am I missing? There must be many more? Help me, please!