A friend and I had an interesting conversation this morning about a boy our sons know. The boy's parents are divorced; he lives with his mother and visits his father. The mother just learned of a secret that the boy had been holding for the last year. My friend and I wondered: What was it like for this boy to keep the secret? What rationale did he use for not sharing it? Who was he protecting? What were his fears?
Fascinating, heart-breaking questions, all of them. But my friend and I didn't mull over these questions. Instead, we marveled at this: How this boy's choices came from a thoughtful, valid place. How children are just as whole and just as wise as adults. Of course adults have experiences to lean on (if you put your hand on a hot stove you will get burnt) and well-informed opinions based on them (yes, breaking up with your boyfriend is heart-wrenching, however, over...
Beyond the Book
In her author's note in The Golden Day
, Ursula Dubosarsky writes that Charles Blackman, an acclaimed Australian modernist painter, was a particularly keen influence on the novel: "[My] greatest debt is to Charles Blackman's many astonishing, lush depictions of schoolgirls enchanting, disturbing, and endlessly evocative."
One of Blackwell's paintings, Floating Schoolgirl
, was especially intriguing to Dubosarsky; it was during a visit to the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra where she first saw the painting, and it became the very first seed for The Golden Day
. The painting is haunting and beautiful; it depicts a schoolgirl in a hat and uniform floating above a city, in what looks like the middle of the night.