C – Children’s Fiction, It’s Not Just For Kiddos Anymore!

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.

 

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10 Comments

Filed under reading, writing

10 responses to “C – Children’s Fiction, It’s Not Just For Kiddos Anymore!

  1. I love ‘The Curious Incident..’! It’s meant to be AMAZING on West End. But definitely for big kids 😉
    A great list. Well done.
    But also, I sympathise – I’m writing my first play for children at the moment and the difference between five year olds and three year olds is apparently huge!
    I had a conversation with someone recently who told me that children under five should only experience positivity in storytelling, ie. nothing scary, nothing negative…fluffy bunnies and teletubbies abound.
    Write what you want. Then adjust for your audience, I think 🙂

    • Jennifer Marshburn

      Yes, I saw it listed as one of 50 greatest children’s books and I was shocked. I just don’t see or asa children’s book.

  2. I enjoy it as well! Stopping by to say hello, found you through AtoZ.

  3. I’m right there with you!!! It’s my absolute favorite genre (which might be why I’m drawn to wrote the stories that I write).

  4. I LOVE children’s and young adult fiction. That’s almost all I read for fun (although granted I’m only 22). I just finished “The Book Thief” and it was fantastic. Almost all my favorite books are children’s or YA– the Narnia series, the Little House books, Anne of Green Gables series, Little Women, A Little Princess, etc., etc. I could go on and on. 🙂
    Stopping by from the A to Z!

    • Jennifer Marshburn

      I read The Book Thief recently too. Haven’t seen the movie yet. I know some people have strict “just book” or “just movie” policies, but I like to compare. Part of my interest in screenwriting, I guess.

  5. I like quite a few books that are, technically, for children/young adults, too. In addition to ones you’ve mentioned, Robin McKinley’s The Hero and the Crown comes to mind, as does Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising, along with the other 5 books in that series.

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