Free Childrens Books are Thus Inevitably Didactic Essay Sample
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Children start to learn at an early age and this is attributed to their reading interests. Reading is not a new culture but has rather been in practice for quite a long time and the literature keeps getting more involving. Children's literature is meant to mould their understanding level and make them more knowledgeable. One may tend to think that children's literature is meant to entertain them or just keep them occupied. However, looking at the content in the literature closely, the material is aimed at increasing the knowledge of the children rather than entertain them. Children's literature is traced back to the 18th century, where the children's literature aimed to instill knowledge rather than entertain the children. This is evident in the popular series Circle of the Sciences (1745- 48), the intended audience were the children and the theme in the book revolved around geography, arithmetic and improving the children's grammar. Therefore, this paper is going to focus on the fact that didactism is inevitable in children's literature.
Inspiration of Children's Literature
According to Hunt (1850), some authors choose to specialise their writing talent on children's literature. This requires the author to have more understanding of children and keep constantly in touch with their childhood memories. This might inspire them to right stories that will command the attention of the children and instill knowledge in them at the same time. Some of the stories written for children may seem quite entertaining but when given a closer look, they actually bear deeper meaning that is very educative. The authors make sure that the emotions in the book can connect to the children as well since children have emotions that can be quite similar to the adults. Once the children are able to connect with the emotions in the book then they can be able to see the educative perspective of it.
Authors must consider that the children to have different interests when it comes to literature. The more the author captures the interest of the child, the more the child will benefit from the educative content in the literature (Grenby, 2009, pp. 50). Children literature varies from horror books to books that are based on true stories. This way the children will have a variety and they learn in their own specific way depending on how they connect to the stories. The book series of Harry Porter is the most popular book among the children of our current generation. The rate by which children are connecting with the book is quite amazing considering the fact that it is not based on real life experiences. The book is a fictional novel but it seems to connect with children and adults as well at a very high level.
Understanding Children's Literature
Children's literature cannot be fully defined as many people approach it differently. It does not necessarily mean that he books are intended for children only or for their entertainment but other individuals can find their interest in them as well. The book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone has stirred a lot of attention in the literature world. The attention has mainly been caused by the adults despite the fact that the book was supposed to fall in the category of children's literature. J.K Rowling who is the author of the book had the children as her audience while developing the book and the characters in the book. This made her be very imaginative as children like to be imaginative and this was bound to capture their attention. However, the fact the book has managed to attract the adults at the same level it has the children raises certain questions. This may be attributed to the fact that children literature has evolved quite a lot with time. The children literature that is being studied or used now cannot be categorised in the same level as the one most adults were used to during their childhood (Grenby, 2009, pp. 35). Therefore, understanding how childhood is viewed will help an author develop work that is of their understanding and interest.
Maturity of Children's Literature
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone approaches children's literature at a more interesting and mature level. This is quite new as before children learnt from literature that was younger and interested the children only. A world of fantasy is usually created in books for children to exercise their imaginative ability (Grenby, 2009). This was seen in the case f Alice in Wonderland, the book describes a fantasy world that helps the child's imagination grow. However, there is a different approach in the fantasy world described by J. K Rowling in Harry Potter; the imagination requires a more mature thinking. This has helped the children mature at a fast rate as their thinking capability is increased as well. For a young child to grasp and understand the content in the book at the same level at which an adult does, shows that children's literature helps the child develop at a fast rate. The author finds a way to connect with the audience through the characters in the book.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was the first book among the many series that were later published. This book focuses o a young boy and his journey in discovering that he has wizardry abilities (Rowling, 1997, pp. 8). As much as the story is fictional and may seem like the main aim is to entertain and amuse the children but one can easily see that the book aims to improve the knowledge of the children. The grammar used in the book is one that the child can understand and use to improve their own. The characters in the book are young individuals and they attend school of witchcraft and wizardry. This is not a normal scenario and the children will have to use their imaginative ability to be able to connect with the book better. As much the story is fictional the story connects with some of the children at a more personal level. The main character Harry, whom is a wizard but an orphan at the same time and this helps the children understand some of the problems that he has to go through. It brings out a reality perspective into the story and the children are able to understand the book more.
Historical Content of Maturity of Children's Literature
This is not a new perspective in children's literature as even long ago it was able to connect with their children and improve their understanding of many things. The fact that the understanding of childhood has changed with time does not necessarily mean it does not relate to the historic factors of children's literature. Focusing on the Alphabet of Goody Two Shoes, which was very popular in 1808, it had very educative content for children and it connected with them as well. The story focuses on the poor state of a girl who later makes it in life. This is very educative material and captures the attention of the child as well. As mentioned earlier children have emotions that are can be similar to those of the adults (Carpenter, 1991, pp.50). The fact that the stories can connect with the children improves their understanding and knowledge as well. It is not only an emotional factor but it also helps improve on their grammar and cognitive ability.
J.K Rowling uses strong words and the emotions in the book are quite strong and some may tend to argue that the book is not meant for children. The content in the book may seem too unrealistic at some point and parents and teachers may tend to think that it is too much for the children. The children on the other hand are embracing the reading culture in their own way that best fits their understanding. Children have specific interests and this transpires in their reading as well. Some of them might find the fictional books too much for them and their understanding might be confused while others embrace the fictional stories as they have active imaginations. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone bring out the imagination in children while at the same time it might confuse others. However, parents cannot dictate to the children what to read or where to focus their interests. This has been present in children's literature in the historical content as well.
Categorizing Children's Literature
Books such as Knight of the Oracle, Artesia and Parismus are some of the books that were widely read long ago. The books were not classified as children's literature but most of the children still took interest in these books (Hunt, 1850, pp.24). As much as the intended audience was the adults, the children enjoyed them just as much. Therefore, categorizing children's literature is quite difficult due to the existence of diversity in children as well. This is put into consideration when approaching the issue of didactism in children's literature. Most of the interviews conducted on the authors of children's books have gotten their inspiration form the books that they got accustomed to while young and their experiences as well. Therefore, the historic content of children's literature is reflected on the current literature. The genre may differ at some point but its educative material is evident.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, presents a different situation all together. The book presents scenarios where evil is dominant and there seems to be problems that cannot be solved (Rowling, 1997, pp.35). To children this may seem like a situation that cannot be understood and since the literature is meant to educate the children rather than confuse them, adult supervision is advised. This is important as the parents will be able to answer some of the questions that the book cannot for the children.
Explaining some of the situations found in the book to the child can be quite difficult as some of the solutions cannot be solved and lying to the child is not a good approach (Hunt, 1850, pp. 24). On the other hand one can choose to tell the child the truth that the problem is irreproachable can overwhelm the child since it might be too much for him. While some of the children reading the book might find it very interesting and funny at some point others may feel frightened by it and lack interest very fast. Thus selecting books for children's literature is quite a hard task as children learn in their own way and understanding. Children will tend to show interest in books that relate to them in different ways. While some children leaving in the city might opt for books that reflect on farm life since they have never had that experience and might want to learn about that. For a parent to predict the interest of the child is quite difficult and they will have to rely on the child to select their own literature (Pierce, n.d.). The work of the adults is to guide the children during the reading process to ensure they get educational value of the stories and explain some of the situations that seem rater vague to them.
Looking at the work of most authors who are well known for their contribution in children's literature, their childhood might not have been a happy one themselves. The likes of Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Morpugo among others aim to create a world that is more to their level. These authors understand what they needed to read during their childhood years and hope to create the same for the children of our current society.
In general, with the world evolving, the children's literature has changed quite a lot as well. It can no longer be classified into a particular group since it involves technology as well. Children are being engulfed by the technology craze and their literature is revolving around games, movies and other related entertainment. However, the reading culture is not yet dead and most authors aim to revive some of their childhood memories in form of books. This has brought out the didactism in children's literature as children have been seen to learn more form the reading of the books with time.