eCREATIVE MAGAZINE APRIL 2016 - Page 16

eCREATIVE Though Guilford-Blake acknowledges that there is a huge effort today to create middle school novels with more African, Hispanic, and Asian leading characters, none of the humans in The Bluebird Prince have any racial or ethnic descriptions. That is one of the main messages Guilford-Blake would like readers to take away after reading his book. Hear Evan Guilford-Blake on the value of racial and ethnic neutral human characters. As opportunities present themselves, Guilford-Blake encourages parents to discuss the non-racial and non-ethnic specificity in the book’s characters with their children. “Parents will probably realize sooner that no one character in the book is of Black, White, Hispanic or Asian origin,” he adds. “The book illustrates that characters don’t have to be of a certain ethnicity to be a hero or a villain.” There are many other references in The Bluebird Prince that will interest adult readers, including things that younger readers would enjoy but not necessarily appreciate. One example: a book written by a walrus on the historical impact of herbs that’s called A Brief History of Thyme includes a brief history of thyme, a comic reference to scientist and author Steven Hawking’s book, A Brief History of Time. Guilford-Blake encourages parents to discuss aspects of the book with their children as those opportunities arise. The Bluebird Prince is a fairy tale with a happy if not happily-ever-after ending. Guilford-Blake notes there are many children’s tales without happy endings such as The Juniper Tree, because those stories were originally cautionary tales to teach children they might be punished for bad behavior. In the original Cinderella story, for example, the stepsisters chopped off their toes to fit into the glass slipper, he notes. “Even the evil characters in The Bluebird Prince have something about them that’s likable.”