Thursday, 10 March 2011

The poet Benjamin Zephaniah was on Radio 4 Bookclub today. I've read his book the Refugee Boy that was featured on the show. 'A story that springs out of war,broken families, refugees, racial rivalries and hatreds, children who become victims almost before they’re old enough to know why.' Wars and its effect on children is told in this book through the story of Alem, a young boy who has one Ethiopian parent and another who is Eritrean. This short book I think, is a must-read.

Benjamin Zephaniah, I was surprised to learn is dyslexic, and I quote from James Naughtie's newsletter - 'to such a degree that he finds it difficult to do such readings – even of his own work – without a great deal of preparation. I suppose, I said to him, that poetry helps: it can be memorised for permanence, after all. Benjamin has spoken a good deal about his condition, and it must be a comfort to many children who find that somewhere along the wide dyslexic spectrum they’ve come across a difficulty, one that for generations in the past would have meant being consigned to the back of the classroom and being labelled "slow" or even stupid. No more.'
Gifted people overcome difficuties and present us with beautiful pieces of literature. Zephaniah is a real role model.

1 comment:

elf_asura said...

Zephaniah is exquisite.

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