ERIC Number: ED439423
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Mar
Too Serious Too Soon: Where Is the Childishness in Children's Fiction?
Subjects such as death, divorce, and homosexuality appeared in few children's books two decades ago, but today children may be given a steady diet of books on different issues every time in their lives that something happens, such as the first day of school, the birth of a new sibling, or the death of a pet. Heather Quarles' award-winning novel "A Door Near Here" presents reality so sharply focused that it becomes overwhelming to the reader. In addition to the reality of plots, the realistic descriptions in prose add to the sharp focus. Over the past 30 years, adults have been undermining the traditional notion of childhood as a period of protection and apprenticeship. Identification with reality-based stories may give readers their own reality back to them, but they are too close to what is real. In fantasy, readers are empowered and assured that they can succeed and overcome obstacles. Fantasy-based stories give readers hope--hope to keep on living and hope to keep on reading. Teachers need to be giving publishers their feedback that more hope--and more humor is sorely needed in the newest books they are publishing. Contains 19 references and a 6-item list of children's books cited. (RS)
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Spring Conference of the National Council of Teachers of English (New York, NY, March 16-18, 2000).