Another Friday, another interesting word of the day from dictionary.com:
Juvenilia means “youthful (works)” in Latin. It is the neuter plural form of the adjective juvenilis, a derivative of the adjective and noun, juvenis, “young, a young person (ie., between the ages of 20 and 40).” It entered English in the early 1600’s.
When I read the origin of this word, I found it interesting that a “young” person is considered, according to dictionary.com, to be between 20 and 40. I can think of several young authors, much younger than 20, who have had a profound impact on the world.
I think of Mattie Stepanek, who wrote “Heart-Songs” and four additional books of poetry before his death from muscular dystrophy just before his 14th birthday.
And then there is Dorothy Straight who wrote “How the World Began” for her Grandmother at the tender age of 4! Perhaps not particularly profound, but notable for the fact that she is considered one of the youngest published authors.
And of course, many of us are familiar with Anne Frank’s, “The Diary of a Young Girl”, the heart-felt words of a young author who filled the pages of a diary that she received on her 13th birthday while confined to an attic before her family was betrayed and sent to a concentration camp during the Nazi regime. Sadly, Anne succumbed to Typhus while imprisoned, but her diary was found by her father, Otto, the only survivor of his family, and published in 1947. It has been translated into more than 60 different languages.
I’ll stop here. There are many other wonderful books by children, wise beyond their years. Wise perhaps because they have not yet learned to filter truth and reason to make it palatable to overly-sensitive ears. How I love the unabashed honesty of children. We would all do well to discount the common saying, “children should be seen and not heard” and give them a listen every now and again. We might learn something.
Especially during these interesting, and for some frightening, times, I’m dedicating this week’s haiku to Miss Frank…
Ann Frank’s diary,
a wise juvenilia
holds truth for our times.
kat ~ 18 November 2016