The Riddle of the Childscape
While travelling the world in order to write her award-winning book Wild, Jay Griffiths became increasingly aware of the huge differences in how childhood is experienced in various cultures. One central riddle, in particular, captured her imagination: Why are so many children in Euro-American cultures unhappy — and why is it that children in many traditional cultures seem happier?
In Kith, Jay Griffiths explores these questions and many more. Moving from communities in West Papua and the Arctic to the ostracised young people of contemporary Britain, she asks why we have enclosed our children in a consumerist cornucopia but denied them the freedoms of space, time and deep play. She uses history, philosophy, language and literature to illustrate children’s affinity for the natural world and the essential quest element of childhood.
The result is an impassioned, illuminating analysis of a universal rite of passage. In its urgent defence of the rights and needs of every child, it is a journey into the heart of human experience.
‘An impassioned, visionary plea to restore to our children the spirit of adventure, freedom and closeness to nature that is their birthright. We must hear it and act on it before it is too late.’ Iain McGilchrist
‘A subterranean book. We excavate it to re-find the secrets of childhood, our own, and many other childhoods in times and places far from ours. We join an underground resistance to the capital of grown-up greed, accountancy and profit. We re-join the Bears.’ John Berger
‘Jay Griffiths writes with such richness and mischief about the one thing that could truly save the world: its children.’ KT Tunstall
‘A beautiful combination of expansive tenderness and fierce intolerance of pettiness. Kith is a call to live life intensely and authentically, vividly, and with grace, humour and passion. Griffiths has politised awe and wonder and play.’ Niall Griffiths
‘Jay Griffiths is one of our most poetic and passionate critics of the ways of civilisation; provocative, illuminating and shamelessly romantic.’ Theodore Zeldin
‘Kith could have been written by no-one but Jay Griffiths. It is ablaze with her love of the physical world and her passionate moral sense that goodness and a true relation with nature are intimately connected. She has the same visionary understanding of childhood that we find in Blake and Wordsworth, and John Clare would have read her with delight. Her work isn’t just good – it’s necessary.’ Philip Pullman
I have put this one on my wish list – definitely need to read this one! …Lara