I’m planning the next stage of my research. It’s such an odd thought process to be having and yet, even now as I wade through a chapter and slice and dice it to smithereens, I know there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. I love this world and so, when you love something, you turn to ways to make it continue and I want to continue asking questions. I want to continue interrogating narratives and readerly experiences and the construction of a text.
I’m starting to suspect that there’s a next step in children’s literature and it will come with an active embrace of technology. Not solely in the form of e-books, per se, but rather an embrace of the divergent and transgressive potential of technology. Technology allows difference and enables the content to dictate the form. Think about it; we have been wed to the book for a long time. The shape of a book, the manuscript bound in a cover, the linear text, the beginning, the end. We recognise books, we know them.
So what happens when we don’t? There’s a phase, clearly, where we don’t know what books are or how to handle them. Much of this happens at an incredibly young age, and it’s only through developing literacies that we learn how to handle the book. To know it. To know that you don’t eat it, you don’t wear it as a hat, that it’s not something that floats (happily) in the sea…
I think it’s this phase that excites me, because even now I can see a different form of literacy evolving in the children that I know and that I work with. The literacy of video games. The literacy of interactivity. The literacy that comes with an internet of things; of action, reaction, of dialogue.And of course books have this; everything is intertextual, there’s only seven stories in the world … but they don’t. The book form is closed and open at the same time; a code that is able to read once you have the skills to read it, but if you don’t, then you’re excluded. I can read a book in English and I can read it in Latin even though I can’t read Latin in the slightest. I know the form. (Lazy, isn’t it, but that’s the code. We can cheat and understand the symbols and the structure of the code, but not the content. We can read when we don’t read and read when we can). Knowing the form and
I rather want to interrupt the form.
I want to build books that exist at intersections; that talk both to the book as object, but also the book as experience. As livable, lickable experience.
I want to build a book that you can eat.