Does Children’s Literature Get the Hype it Deserves? 

The last book I read where I was absolutely enveloped within the world a book created was Harry Potter. Perhaps this is because I’ve been studying Literature or simply because I don’t have as much time for recreational reading as I used to. So why is it that series like Harry Potter are so easily dismissed for adults? 

For answers, I turned to a professional within children’s literature publishing, Leah Tanaka, editor at Kurumuru Books*. Tanaka remarked “there can sometimes be a little bit of stigma against children’s books… adults usually follow adult book trends and news because those are the books they are told are for them… but there is a thriving part of the industry who delve deeper than how it might appear to the public”. Yet, children’s writer SF Said argued “media coverage of children’s books is vanishingly small,” despite the fact they are “the most vibrant section of British publishing, outperforming adult fiction in 2014”. 

So why is there not a bigger promotion for children’s literature if it remains so successful? Although there are many illustrious franchises we all know, most adolescent literature is rarely promoted because it is marketed for an entirely exclusive audience. It is possible to expand this audience. Many of us enjoy watching Stranger Things, yet similar sci-fi stories within children’s books are dismissed as obtuse. As Tanaka noted, we “become more influenced by external factors and recommendations from our friends” which often exclusively mentions books promoting their intellectual abilities, whereas kids “do not feel the need to excuse their reading habits”. 

But why bother with children’s literature? The world of fantasy and escapism is rarely found within adult fiction, but it is the focus within lots of children’s literature. Look at our childhoods! The sense of bliss when your brain is at its peak of surrealism, we were playing doctors and nurses, warriors, acrobats all within the perimeter of a concrete playground. Children’s books are truly perfect for creating a similar sense of reverie, and when tragedy seems to hit every week nowadays, who wouldn’t want to be immersed in a more magical land for an afternoon? Tanaka remarks “it can be very valuable to re-read books we loved as children, because we will approach them with a different lens”. Similarly, we can read new children’s books with a completely different perspective to children while retaining the magic! If we step outside our own expectations, I believe we’ll be pleasantly surprised! 

I asked Tanaka for recommendations, and she suggested The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, and Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. All are available on Amazon. 

*Kurumuru Books is a Norfolk based publishing house established during the pandemic. 

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Jessica Blissitt

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ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Does Children’s Literature Get the Hype it Deserves? ”

  1. I completely agree! I feel this is also incredibly relevant with teen/YA adult fiction. There’s so many brilliant stories in that genre and the whole genre can stand apart from orthodox children and adult fiction with it’s adolescent themes, but are just so wonderfully crafted that everyone can enjoy!

August 2022
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