I'm slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community today. Thanks to this community, we can learn and grow, give support or ask for it. Pretty wonderful, right?
Have you ever been afraid of the dark? A long time ago, you didn't have much choice, even if you were indoors. If you were poor, you couldn't just light a candle. They cost money. You certainly couldn't afford a lantern. If you were rich, and lit candles, or allowed your servants to have them, they still only lit corners of a room, and were so dangerous because of fire. Living in the time before electric light was a different kind of living, filled with danger.
Among other books for kids, I have recently started a book I've had for a while because I read an excerpt of it somewhere, and was interested. It is At Day's Close: Night In Times' Past by A. Roger Ekirch, a long and densely researched history of the night before the industrial revolution.
Some of the stories still touch us, because there are times when our lights go out, or we are driving far out into the country with only the car's headlights to give us comfort. but imagine what night was like long ago with only candles or lanterns to show the way. There were unpaved streets, uneven roads, fairies and haints, thieves and murderers. I've hardly begun the book, but it is fascinating.
Although we are fortunate that most of us do live with lit streets and homes, others in the world still do not. They still face challenges in the dark, still stay inside their shelters unless forced to go out. Yet, even after all these years past the invention of the light bulb and other technologies, it still feels as if we believe there are frightening aspects of the dark. Here are some titles of recent picture books that are supposed to help children, and perhaps us adults, be a little less afraid--of the night, or the dark. They might also serve as sparks for interesting personal narratives.
The Dark - Lemony Snicket
In A Dark, Dark House - Jennifer Dussling
The Dragon Who Was Afraid of The Dark - Janet McNulty
Orion and the Dark - Emma Garlett
Night Animals - Gianna Marino
The Night World - Mordecai Gerstein
Nighttime Ninja - Barbara DaCosta
Flashlight - Lizi Boyd
The House In The Night - Susan Marie Swanson
This is a limited post about the night, I know, but it has been interesting for me to consider my own beliefs and where they might have originated, so I hope I have you thinking, too.