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Thread: Are you too proud to read or admit to enjoying children's literature

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    Are you too proud to read or admit to enjoying children's literature

    I ordered Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card because it sounded interesting and it was listed by Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of the 20th century (off topic, I prefer Radcliffe's list). I was disappointed when it arrived because I had no idea it was a children's book.

    I consider myself to be an egalitarian, I regard children as being my equals (not equally intelligent or equally mature but deserving of equal respect and consideration). If I believe children should be taken seriously as persons, why should I be ashamed to read a book intended for children or add it to my bookshelf? There are a lot of books I read when I was younger (Goosebumps, Animorphs, a lot of stuff by Bruce Coville etc.) that I would enjoy now. Charlotte's Web also sounds interesting, I can't remember whether or not I ever read it. I plan on eventually getting around to Ender's Game but I'm hesitant to add it to my bookshelf (I have it hidden in my closet, lol). Do you think it's strange for an adult to read children's literature?

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    Ditsy Pixie Niamh's Avatar
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    no, its not strange at all for an adult to read childrens books. I think you will find that a lot of people actually do.
    "Come away O human child!To the waters of the wild, With a faery hand in hand, For the worlds more full of weeping than you can understand."
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    Card-carrying Medievalist Lokasenna's Avatar
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    If its a quality piece of writing, then its possible to enjoy it at any age. My Godson is six, and we read together quite often - stuff like Treasure Island, Peter Pan, the Alice books, Wind in the Willows, and I have to admit they're marvellous.

    Then you get things like Blake's poetry, that means different things to different age groups, or something like Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy that are open to individual interpretation.

    So no, I've no qualms or snobbery about reading kid's books. Just don't expect to break out the Harry Potter any time soon...
    "I should only believe in a God that would know how to dance. And when I saw my devil, I found him serious, thorough, profound, solemn: he was the spirit of gravity- through him all things fall. Not by wrath, but by laughter, do we slay. Come, let us slay the spirit of gravity!" - Nietzsche

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    Registered User Lulim's Avatar
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    Like Niamh, I don't consider it strange at all to read childrens books.

    When my kids were younger, I read nearly all the stuff they read only because I wanted to know what it is about. In the process, I discovered that a lot of childrens books are complete rubbish (alas, I can't name examples): Some authors and publishers don't seem to set great store on correctness in childrens books while in my opinion childrens books and their contents should be evaluated at least as carefully as adults books, or class books.

    Then again, there are childrens books brimming with nothingness and silliness, which only serve to dull the childrens minds ... oh wait, this applies to many adults books also ...

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    Are you too proud to read or admit to enjoying children's literature
    Never! I would enjoy and do enjoy children's literature and poems emensely. As a child, my father used to read us Oscar Wilde's short story/fairytales, such as the "The Selfish Giant", "The Nightengale and the Rose", "The Happy Prince"; all are still dear to my heart. He also read us poems like "Wynken, Bynken, and Nod", which, to this day, I adore. I should probably read "Alice in Wonderland" now that I am all grown-up. I loved the book "The Boxcar Children (or was it Kids?)"...at anyrate, I picked it up not long ago on my library freebie shelf and intend to read it someday. When I had my son as a young child I used to read him Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are"; also "Curious George Gets a Medal" - both were his favorites; mine, too! Now that I have a grand-daughter I hope someday to read these to her. We revisit our own childhood in the pages of these books. We can never outgrow their charm. Heck, I even loved Sesame Street books and still do find them very entertaining. My grand-daughter at the tender age of 17 months loves Sesame Street already.
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    I wouldn't be ashamed of reading children's literature, although it may not be very satisfying....however, Ender's Game is children's literature? Really? I don't know about that. Sure, it is genre fiction, but you won't find it in the children's section of a bookstore.
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    It's a great way to relax after reading Dostoevsky. I recently read Treasure Island, without the excuse of reading it to a child . Great entertainment. I read Pullman's trilogy recently - didn't like it much (shouldn't have forced myself to finish it... I guess adults should give up if a book gets *too* childish/boring)

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    Quote Originally Posted by LukeS. View Post
    I wouldn't be ashamed of reading children's literature, although it may not be very satisfying....however, Ender's Game is children's literature? Really? I don't know about that. Sure, it is genre fiction, but you won't find it in the children's section of a bookstore.
    I was wondering if I got a different copy than the one I had in mind but I know of no children's version. My copy says 'for ages 10 and up' and it came with a bunch of children's literature pamphlets. My copy has a really childish cover. I found another copy at a store once and it was in the regular sci-fi section.

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    This celestial seascape! Lynne50's Avatar
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    Just finished Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. Usually this book is read by 4th-6th graders. I picked it up and read it for the first time. It was an immensely satisfying story, very sad, but worth reading.
    And Janine The Boxcar Children was one of my all time favorites when I was in 3rd grade. I was mesmerized how the children were able to set up a 'household' in a boxcar. I secretly wanted to leave home and pretend I could live on my own.

    I wouldn't be able to list all the young adult books that adults would find enjoyable. Good writing is good writing, no matter the intended audience.
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    Some Childrens books are the best stories you'd ever read. Phillip Pulman (one of the best 'childrens' writers) said he writes what he wants to read, so read what you want to read. Don't be constrained by a genre, but I would say that as a struggling 'childrens' writer!

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    Registered User haprdgn's Avatar
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    I'm a huge Roald Dahl fan; A lot of his children books are darker than most adult books I've read.

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    shortstuff higley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by African_Love View Post
    Do you think it's strange for an adult to read children's literature?
    Naw. Several years ago I walked into a Wendy's restaurant and saw a well-dressed woman of about 65 reading one of the Harry Potter books. She had it propped on a dainty little clear book stand. It was so funny for some reason.

    I think that the line between literature "appropriate" ages is marked by factors such as the use of fantasy or the age of the protagonist. Someone made a thread a while ago wondering about adult literature with child protagonists, which there is not a lot of that I have read. Obviously adults generally want to read/hear about adults, and kids want to read/hear about kids. But there are far more integral adult characters in children's literature than there are children in adult fiction. I guess this is because kids still have adulthood to look forward to, and thus can maintain an interest in those older characters. Sometimes adults have difficulty remembering they don't necessarily need to abandon all the elements of fiction and stories they enjoyed as children, but when they're reminded of these things, they dismiss them as childish and irrelevant.

    Now Harry Potter obviously was one of the most successful at transcending boundaries, and I think part of that is that it wasn't written quite as simply as most kids' literature, with complex plots and themes. What stops some other youth literature is that it is written so simply as to bore adults.
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    Bibliophile Drkshadow03's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by African_Love View Post
    I was wondering if I got a different copy than the one I had in mind but I know of no children's version. My copy says 'for ages 10 and up' and it came with a bunch of children's literature pamphlets. My copy has a really childish cover. I found another copy at a store once and it was in the regular sci-fi section.
    Ender's Game is often part of middle school reading lists around here. I didn't read until I was about 18 I would guess, maybe later.
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    I still read and reread the Chronicles of Narnia every once in a while.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wat?? View Post
    I still read and reread the Chronicles of Narnia every once in a while.
    I vaguely remember reading that, I think I enjoyed it. I would read it (again?) online or from the library but I don't think I would buy a children's novel.

    I couldn't find Charlotte's Web online but I found The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I think I'll give it a try.

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