Author: Daniel Pennac
Translator: Sarah Ardizzone
Original language: French
Published by: MacLehose Press, 2010
Novelist Daniel Pennac worked for many years as a teacher in Paris, working with children with learning difficulties. In his memoir, School Blues, he expresses, amongst many other things, his concern at the increasing and insidious influence of advertising and consumerism on children and the schools they attend.
School Blues grapples with the challenges of a multicultural society and education, going beyond the polemics of immigration and socio-economic disadvantage to explore 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 a work of literature in its own right, driven by subtlety, sensitivity and a passion for pedagogy, while embracing the realities of contemporary culture.