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INSIDE CHILDREN’S MINDS, edited by Valerie Yule, Queensland: Bookpal. 2014. Illustrated with children’s drawings, 470 pages,
Children’s stories told about their drawings. The children tell how they see the world, the effects of physical and mental disorders, delinquency, rejection and despair, their imagination about war in fantasy and experienced in reality, and their re-telling of fairy stories and their common symbols.
It is a selection with their drawings from thousands of stories told to me by children, when I was a clinical child psychologist and schools psychologist, and took their stories down in shorthand. It includes research on children’s language.
Are there differences between girls’ and boys’ imagination according to their social condition? What leads delinquents to their antisocial ends? Why do later adults act against their own interests? What different pictures of the world do children bring to adulthood? What insights are there to Theodore Dalrymple’s Life at the Bottom?
The stories in this book show the world as children see it, and how they can imagine things they cannot see – a world of work and play, fairy-tales and space adventures, success and failure, war and ways of living. The differences between the stories told by fortunate children and those who are disadvantaged reveal the impact on the imagination of a child of stresses, in economic circumstances, war, family breakdown, physical and mental disabilities, and learning difficulties. As adults try to meet children’s physical needs and cope with their behavior, they may see only the outward life and actions of a ‘problem child’, missing the vivid imaginative life that can hold the key to the child’s future.
The life themes a child develops may be expressed in their stories through symbols such as fire, snow, sinking ships and repetition of disaster. Many stories seem to foreshadow their teller’s adult prospects, and a child of six may already be preparing to hope or give up.
While violence and suffering continue amid Western affluence, we must listen to children, because so many already seem destined to be the villains and victims of the next generation.
Psychiatrist Russell Gardner observes, ‘We use stories about ourselves to guide our every action’
“These stories not only give the reader much delight but also a rare and special insight into how children think.” Dr Dorothy Rowe.
“Your spirited treasury is full of delights and wisdom, as I’d expect,” Marina Warner.
“I’m immensely impressed by the range and detail of the material. This must surely be a work of value to educators and psychologists .” Dr June Factor.
The book is the fruit of 40 years of research during the author’s work as a clinical child psychologist, schools psychologist and academic, in Australia, Scotland, England and Belfast.
This book is for the general public, psychologists, educators, and literary specialists.
$31.95.and special price at amazon over the holidays.
ISBN 13: 9781742844299 ISBN 10: 1742844294. Available from Bookpal, online booksellers and Australian bookshops like READINGS, Carlton