Saturday, 7 July 2012

Abandoned, alienated and homeless - the perils of being in children's literature

In an article in the most recent edition of Children's Literature in Education, Goodbye yellow brick road,  available via our SUPrimo, the authors Melissa Wilson and Kathy Short, report on their analysis of prize winning children's literature between 2003 to 2007 and claim that in writing for children, childhood is no longer carefree, with home as a safe haven, from which they set out on an adventure, but rather home is the source of abuse, abandonment and uncertainty, where parents are absent, ineffective or dysfunctional. In a response in today's Guardian Francesca Simon proposes that the trend is simply a solution to the perennial problem that children's literature requires the removal of parents in order for the action to take place in an adult free theatre - and that in modern settings it is simply not possible for children to roam freely as they did, in for example, Swallows and Amazons.
Perhaps it is just that modern children's literature reflects a realism previously absent, in many areas where childhood was previously idealised, and that today's readers enjoy and identify with this realism.

(Guest post by Alison Forde)

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