Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cultural Differences

When I was writing my last post ‘Humour in Children’s Books’, I realized that two of the situations I was talking about would present problems for some persons outside the Caribbean culture.

In  Naughty Eddie LaRue, most Caribbean children would know and anticipate that with that degree of naughtiness there could be only one outcome - he would have to get a well-deserved spanking. For many of us, spanking is still the accepted punishment for bad behaviour. One of the illustrations in the book shows Eddie being spanked on his bottom and usually raises an outcry from foreigners, who immediately classify this as child abuse. ( I will not post the illustration here)

Similarly, the little girl who insisted that the dog should not be in the house, would probably be thought strange by others not accustomed to our culture. Dogs are very often kept to guard the home. As such they need to be outside or in their dog house, so that they can warn the householder of intruders. Dogs are rarely the pampered pets we see on television.

These are broad generalizations, and they may not apply to all the Caribbean islands. I am not here getting into a discussion of right or wrong. The message for our writers is that if you want your children's book to travel, be sure that it doesn’t offend other people’s sensibilities especially in sensitive areas like these.

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