Daniel Pennac has never forgotten what it was like to be a very unsatisfactory student, nor the day one of his teachers saved his life by assigning him the task of writing a novel. This was the moment Pennac realized that no-one has to be a failure for ever. In School Blues, Pennac explores the many facets of schooling: how fear makes children reject education; how children can be captivated by inventive thinking; how consumerism has altered attitudes to learning. Haunted by memories of his own turbulent time in the classroom, Pennac enacts dialogues with his teachers, his parents and his own students, and serves up much more than a bald analysis of how young people are consistently failed by a faltering system. School Blues is not only universally applicable, but it is unquestionably a work of literature in its own right, driven by subtlety, sensitivity and a passion for pedagogy, while embracing the realities of contemporary culture.
Daniel Pennac was born in 1944 in Morocco. He was a teacher before becoming a writer of books for children and a series of hugely successful humorous novels. A continued interest in education and social affairs led to his book The Rights of the Reader, and thereafter to School Blues, for which he won the Prix Renaudot. Sarah Ardizzone has won the Scott Moncrieff Prize for her translation of Faiza Guene's first novel, Just Like Tomorrow. Her fresh, new translation of Pennac's The Rights of the Reader (Walker Books) is a natural prelude to School Blues. Quentin Blake, an artist of world renown and first ever Children's Laureate, has collaborated with Pennac on several books, including The Rights of the Reader.
Foreword. The Cancre, or Dunce. The Dustbin in Djibouti. Becoming. Y = There, or the Present Incarnate. You're Doing It on Purpose. Maximilien, or the Ideal Culprit. What It Means to Love. Translator's Note. Glossary. Permissions. Translator's Acknowledgements.