We have a new Personal View by Elisa Oreglia, the founding Producer/Editor of PaperTigers in 2002. Elisa is currently a PhD student at the University of California Berkeley School of Information researching the circulation and use of mobile phones and computers in China, especially in the countryside. You can read articles written by Elisa in PaperTigers’ early days here and here.
Elisa recently produced this reading list for the Ethnography Matters blog – plenty to get your teeth into there – and she still loves children’s books, especially ones about elephants.
“PaperTigers at 10″ by Elisa Oreglia
Happy Birthday, PaperTigers! And what a great age to be, ten years old. When I was ten years old, that was my golden age of reading: a treasure of picture books still behind me, to consult secretly from time to time, and a whole new world of books for young adults and grown-ups slowly opening up. Around that time, my grandmother gave me a book of legends, myths, and stories from around the world which, at least according to the family lore, shaped a lot of my future interests. At the time, legends and myths from other countries were about as far as multicultural literature had gone, and I drank it up. I read the book in one go, and kept going back to the different stories, especially the legend of the dragon boat festival from China… see where this is going?
I can’t say that I thought about these stories a lot or became obsessed by dragon boats in the following years, but when, years later, Peter Coughlan asked me if I’d be interested in working with him to create a website centered around children’s books and the Pacific Rim, the dragon boats came back to my mind. I wondered what had happened in the years since I stopped reading children’s books: were kids still reading myths and legends from around the world? Were there more books about faraway cultures now that the internet was seemingly shortening the distance between countries? What did children’s books look like in China and India and other Pacific Rim countries? How could I say no to such a tempting adventure?