Children's Literature and Kids Underestimated Again
By sandlerpage on August 17, 2012
But let me get to the content of the piece. The author describes her love of children's literature, and how important it is that adults recognize the value of those books designated as such. That reading such works as an adult gives one an opportunity to find out "what they're all about." She describes how a child's perspective of these three classics is basically superficial and without emotion, while reading these books as an adult allows one to uncover "insights that are lost on a child." Yes, adults can understand things that children can't. And yes, adults will make conclusions that children wouldn't. But in my opinion, the author of this piece has no idea how much children can and do understand about the world around them, nor how strongly stories affect their thinking.
Let me say here that I do not think that the author of this piece intends to condescend to children and their ability to understand complex ideas. Her goal, summed up in the title of the piece, appears to be to illustrate how adults, too, can learn from children's books. She then goes through the social satire of The Little Prince, the existential and philosophical conflicts of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, and the basic characters present in almost every story, perfectly depicted in Winnie the Pooh. The author is doing her best to encourage adults to take another look at some of their childhood literary friends to see how their different perspective in life allows for a different perspective on these children's books. That's a wonderful intention, one that I subscribe to wholeheartedly. I just do so without making children out to be idiots. I also do so with the understanding that the same is true for adults of all ages. The perspective you have reading a book at 28 will be different from your very own perspective reading the very same book at 58, or 78, or 98, just how your perspective was different when you were 8. Duh.
It all boils down to grownups underestimating children, yet again. No, children are not miniature adults. Thank goodness. They are so very much more than that. And if you don't get that, you don't have any business writing about what they can and cannot understand in a boring, 100 year-old piece of literature.
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