Arts and Entertainment

It's worth remembering that fairy tales were not originally thought of as children's stories.

Children's Books: When Harry Potter met Pollyanna...

From J R R Tolkien to J K Rowling, listen out for a seasonal treat. Christina Hardyment surveys audiobooks for children

Books: There's life beyond Harry Potter

Brandon Robshaw on books to grab younger readers

Children's Books: A Week in Books

Philip Pullman Children's books must join the Euro zone

Children's Books: Telling tales out of spool

Spoken-word tapes for children need lots of relish, but no ham. Christina Hardyment listens in wasters of alternative Albion? Just the music, says Charles Jennings

Books: Heaven, Hell, and the hut at the bottom of the garden

Alix Sharkey talks to children's fantasy author Philip Pullman, who takes inspiration from Milton and Homer

Obituary: Lt-Cdr Alastair Robertson

ALASTAIR ROBERTSON had two complementary careers, as an early member of the reconstituted Fleet Air Arm, for whom he was a distinguished navigating officer, and at the Board of Northern Lights, the body that manages Scottish lighthouses. In 1939 he was the first victor over the German Air Force, when, on 26 September, his Flight shot down a Dornier flying boat over Heligoland. He said that it was going so slowly that it would have been embarrassing to have missed.

Gear up for Cheltenham

For the second year in a row, The Independent is sponsoring the Cheltenham Literary Festival. This year, Britain's biggest book-fest includes readings and events featuring more than 300 writers and celebrities, from Judi Dench to Alan Clark, and Raymond Blanc to Julian Barnes

Philip Pullman

This writer is a rarity in the recent Waterstone's best children's books list. He's still alive!

Books: Understand a little more

Philip Pullman praises a brave study of the Bulger case and its impact

Arts: And all of a sudden...

Cut-throat with plenty of surprises is Tim Firth's idea of a plotline for a children's television series. Adults won't be disappointed either. By Jasper Rees
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there