Wednesday, June 08, 2005
King Matt the First by Janusz Korczak
There'll be a new edition of this book out in August and I urge everyone who glances at this blog to buy it. Korczak wrote this book because he understood how important it was to listen to children, to be a child, to nurture children. His belief was such that in 1942 he died in a concentration camp after refusing to abandon the jewish orphanage he ran and that belief runs all the way through King Matt. At least I'm guessing it does, I've only read 40 pages. 40 pages and I'm hooked, but then the back cover hooked me - "....Matt who becomes a king when just a child and decides to reform his country according to his own priorities. Ignoring his grown up ministers, he builds the best zoo in the world, fights in battles, braves the jungle and crosses the desert, but perhaps most life altering of all is that the lonely boy king finds true friends." Now this is a great concept, it might sound a little dated (maybe in did back in 1923 when it was written), but in the right hands it has serious potential, Korczak taps into that potential beautifully with elegant insightful prose that captures the direct simple honesty that children are capable of.