I am a proud, educated, 33 year old woman, who loves Children’s Fiction. I can list my top 5 favorite books for you right now, and three (arguably four) of them would be considered children’s stories.
1. The Little Prince
2. The Chronicles of Narnia
3. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
4. The Lord of the Rings (including the Hobbit)
5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
(Yes, I recognize that “technically” that is a lot more than 5 books to most people, but in my head a continuous story equates to one book – I’ll grant you – in multiple volumes.)
So as you can see, the vast majority of my favorite books are children’s stories, and I am proud of this. I think my favorite books are some of the best stories ever written; why else would I call them my favorites? But more than this, I’ve loved children’s fiction more than I can express. If it weren’t for classic children’s literature, like The Secret Garden and Tom Sawyer, I would not have developed quite the love of reading that I have.
Unfortunately, despite this passion, I find myself unable to write children’s fiction. However often I try, I just can’t find a subject matter appropriate for a young audience. In the past, when I have tried, the story has gotten away from me developing adult themes, and including language that I’m fairly certain most parents would be at least hesitant to allow their children to read. (Okay, that last bit is not so much the story’s fault as mine, but if I’m already moving into adult themes, why censor myself?) One would think years of reading these stories would make writing an appropriate, nice little children’s story easy for me.
Well, it turns out I may not be too off the mark when it comes to stories for children. The truth is a lot of classic children’s stories deal with some pretty heavy themes. The Secret Garden: the importance of companionship; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time: coping with loss. And of course, the themes of The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter books deal with darker issues such as the nature of evil, dangers of desire, and mortality. So, maybe I should try my hand at this again.