Thursday, March 06, 2008

Easy? PLEASEy!

I think the kidlitosphere has well covered "Read Roger's" recent comments about adults who read children's books, but I did want to add something that came to mind.

Children's books are not necessarily easy for adults to read: in fact, children's books can be much more difficult for adults to read than for children. Diana Wynne Jones is the classic example, and she is well aware of that fact herself; she's written that children find her books much easier to deal with than adults do because they're used to accepting all sorts of things they don't understand. (I'm paraphrasing, unfortunately, because I can't find the quote.)

Getting into the right head space to truly do justice to a children's book can be quite challenging. I only wish I could read Jones like I did when I was a child.

Some adults may indeed decide to study children's literature expecting it to be a sinecure, but I'd like to think there are professors out there making life a little more difficult and interesting for them than they expected.



Anonymous Anonymous bligged...

THANK you for that. Children's lit isn't just "dumbed down" grown-up reading matter. You try that and you wait and see how fast the kids show you the door.

As a writer of both adult and YA, I am very aware of the "oh, it's just a kid's book, you must have had a HOLIDAY writing that after the adult stuff" attitudes. Yes, I had a great deal of fun writing the YA books - but then, I have fun writing, period, and the books aimed at the younger audience were not in any way the condescending watered-down wine of "adult" literature that some people think such books must be. I *respect* my readers - all of them, be they 12 or 82. They have an equal right to have expectations from a writer - a good story - and that is the thing which I aim for, not an "easy" story or a story which implies that I believe that the readership it's aimed at simply isn't CAPABLE of appreciating anything more - oh - call it *sophisticated* than expected.

Frankly I've met 13-year-olds who show more scintillating insight than some of the highest "literary critics" in the land.

3/06/2008 1:34 PM  

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