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The Haven Herald

Children’s Literature: Not just for kids

As a teenager I have come across a lot of skepticism when I tell an adult what I am reading. On occasion it will be some literary masterpiece, but more often than not it will be a fantasy book about magic, other worlds, or fairies, and sometimes all three. Many times I have received the response “Aren’t you a little old for those sorts of books?”

While this is discouraging, I also have come to discover that when I talk to an adult who has a great amount of what I like to call book sense, they don’t have the same reaction. English teachers will participate in enthusiastic conversations about Harry Potter, and journalists will compare Artemis Fowl with other, lesser, children’s books. These people should know good literature from bad, right? They are much older then me and have plenty of experience. It makes me wonder, what constitutes being too old? Perhaps there is no cut-off age. Nobody would tell an English teacher that their choice of book was too young, and nobody would argue with a journalist that their comparisons are trivial.

I strongly believe that children and adults can learn from books that perhaps are aimed at a younger audience. You can’t judge a book by its cover, or by the blurb written on its back, which tends to be over done in an attempt to win over readers. There are plenty of good literary achievements in children’s fiction.

Take Artemis Fowl, for example. A book that is certainly meant for children under the age of fifteen, but that is fantastic, perfect for all ages. It can teach us a lot, if we look. The main character, Artemis, goes through such dramatic changes in the span of five years; he goes from a selfish, business-minded boy to a mature, less selfish, young adult. It seems simply nice to the younger reader, but to an older person it may hold a truly valuable message. Many adults are over-worked these days; too many are money-minded. This series of books shows the effects of greed to a maximum. It can be a wake-up call to many, and a warning to others on the verge of becoming something they don’t want to be.

Another amazing point in the books is the emphasis on feminism. Holly Short is an elf who, despite all odds, managed to become the first LEPRecon ever. It sounds silly, but it sends out a positive message to anybody trying to get into the work place. While sexism is not such a huge issue these days, racism and homophobia is prominent, people who are discriminated against need to keep their heads up and keep going. Holly is an inspiration and a role model to anybody who has trouble in that area.

Death is also main issue. It is difficult to deal with in real life, and seeing someone go through that in a book might help a person handle the stress. Everybody has to experience it sometime, and while we hate to see our favourite characters go, it teaches us something of mourning and moving on. A person may see their feelings written out on a page and be comforted by it.
Many people would argue that these messages could be sent out in a more realistic book, some thing less fantastical, but there’s an added bonus. Humans should never loose their sense of wonder. We must always be open to the world. Maybe magic doesn’t exist in a fairy’s touch, but maybe there is a different kind of magic somewhere. It helps us stay motivated, and keeps us from turning into mindless robots, simply living our life, accepting only reality.

Adult readers tend to see these lessons as nice for children, but hardly suitable in the real world. Well, I beg to differ. Everybody needs to go back to their original morals; if more adults did, this world may be a better place.

What about the simplicity of the books? They are clearly made for children? Hardly, in fact, I find that characters in children’s literature may have even more depth then some adult books. If we look at Artemis again we see that he isn’t a normal boy. He’s different then any character I have ever read, and is complex in the most subtle way. From the first book onwards we see him try and control his emotions, like many people in the real world do. He acts cold, and talks with a large vocabulary that hides what he means in a maze of words. Yet we see him performing many acts that are kind, but he always tries to cover it up, claiming that he did it for his own good. If you truly pleased you could go into a deep psycho-analysis of the boy. In fact, at the beginning of many of the books there is a page or two on his psychology. The villains are also a piece of work. Take Opal Koboi, she’s a narcissistic, psychotic megalomaniac. You’ve got three disorders there alone. She’s undeniably evil, but is the second big feminist in the book. While she fights for her right as a woman, she also fights for power. It shows that somebody with good ideals may not necessarily be a good person.

For these reasons I am a complete believer in children’s literature for all ages. It’s good for the mind, heart and soul. The characters and plot lines are complex, much more so than is expected. At the age of sixteen I have not given up on my favourite fantasy books, and I don’t plan to anytime soon.

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Comments on This Post

16 responses to “The Haven Herald.” Join in!

  1. *does strangely funny I-won-the-avvie-of-the-month-competion dance*
    YAY!!! Actually, I was going to change it, but I guess I won’t now. Thanks guys, and congrats to Maeve, CARINO!! CABALLINE!!!(especially congrats) and ArtyFowl3.


  2. Far From Normal is the name of the second book, but oh well.

  3. Congrats to all the award winners!
    THe not just for kids page is REALLY good…BUT holly is sorta my isperation to do those things that only guys are allowed to do….like i just hate the sexisam at skwl!!!!! awsome issue guys!

  4. Guys this is awesome.4th issue looks great.And thanks for Member of the Month award,this is very nice surprise :).Congratulations to all winners!!!!!

  5. I love the avatar of the month!

  6. The best newsletter in the world!!!!!!
    Congratulation to all winners!!!

  7. I love the piece on Children’s Literature. If the author happens to see this I’d love to be allowed to quote that off site on one of my profiles. It’s excellent.

  8. I wrote it, and I’m quite honoured that you like it that much! You can quote it, but I’d appreciate it if you could find a way to site it to the Herald. Just a little footnote, it doesn’t have to be big.

  9. Wonderful article on Children’s literature BlackOpal! I’m getting my mother to read it.

    Hey dewds!! In the article about Far From Normal, it says something about Dauphin Island. That’s in Alabama. I live like ten minutes from “The Island” as we Mobilians call it. That freaked me out for some reason.

    Nice Christmas jingle, by the way. 😉

  10. great article blackopal! i no plenty of people who should probably read this

  11. Another great issue. Really well written guys! I also loved the Children’s Literature piece the most. The whole newsletter was a fantastic read, but that piece in particular stood out. I love how you pulled out the deeper themes from the series. 😀

  12. WOW! This issue was really good! I can’t wait for the next one! (because of the contest winners!) and I finally learned what a noob was!!!

  13. Wow! Yay, I’m really excited that I won something, and thanks mucho for the good blog comment! 😉 I try.
    Congrats to 1holly, Maeve, ArtyFowl3, and Cabaline as well! Good job, guys!
    And 1holly, you shouldn’t change your avvie. I like it!
    BlackOpal, great article!

  14. […] The difference between boy and girl readers, and even between child and adult readers. […]

  15. Congratulations to all the winners! 😀 Congratulations for getting that promotion, Maeve! You really deserve it! 😛

    An excellent article as well, BlackOpal! 🙂

    Great job and a great issue [as always 😆 ].

  16. Wow… I never knew Car became Newbie of the Month! Well, congratz, Car, even though I’m a little late 😛 And congratz to 1holly for her avvy award!

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