Friday, 15 March 2013

Out of the mouths of babes

My 9yo has reached the age where she wants answers. Answers to burning philosophical debates such as 'If there were no other clothes in the world, which would you buy me. Little Mix or One Direction pyjamas?' Apparently 'a sack with a hole cut in it' was an unacceptable riposte. 'Does kissing boys really make you lose a tooth?' No, but you will lose several brain cells. 'What is tofu?' Errmm...

Other questions take me longer to answer. What is the worst book I ever read? There are books I didn't finish, books that made me feel sick, books I tossed across the room in disbelief, books I went back to as an adult only to realise I still hated them (looking at you Tale of Two Cities). But the worst book I ever read? I am still thinking whilst she has happily moved on to the next question.

'Who is your hero?'

Blankness. Does she mean literary? Historical? Contemporary? Mythological? Someone we know? Am I supposed to say Katniss, this year's character of choice for World Book Day?

'JK Rowling?' suggests 9yo, bored of my silence.

JK Rowling? A storyteller who single handedly turned a generation of kids onto reading? An astute business woman who kept control of her characters' brands and imagery and amassed a huge fortune by doing so. A philanthropist who quietly, without fanfare or fuss, has given so much of that fortune to charity that she has spent herself off the Forbes Rich list (*glares at every idiot oligarch/footballer/hedgefund manager with an oversized yacht, private jet and gold-plated anything). A woman who is proud not to use a single tax evasion scheme, however legal, because she believes in  giving back to the country that provided her with education, health care and a home when she had nothing.

Is that the kind of woman I want my daughter to consider a hero? Absolutely.




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