Monday, September 20, 2010

Topic: Reality in Children's Books.

Purpose of this blog: Review of interesting articles and ideas in English education journals, K-12.

10-second review: A writer of realistic children’s books worries about the limits of depicting reality in her books.

Title: “Keeping It Real: How Realistic Does Realistic Fiction for Children Need to Be?” Barbara O’Connor. Language Arts (July 2010), 465-471.

Quote: “I write realistic fiction for children, imagined stories that are grounded in reality. And naturally, since I am the one writing the story, it’s grounded in my reality, drawn from my own life experiences: the people I’ve known, the places I’ve lived, the conversations I’ve heard. My writing voice draws heavily on authenticity.”

Quote: But writing for children requires setting some limits on reality. After 25 years and 15 books, I still find myself trying to strike a balance between carefree, uncensored, authentic, realistic writing and age-appropriate writing. Complicating that balancing act is the fact that what seems age-appropriate to me might not seem so to everyone. Children’s writers know that in order to reach their intended audience, their books must first pass through the hands of parents, teachers, librarians, and other adults, all of whom have their own ideas about age-appropriateness and the limits of reality in children’s books.”

Summary: She then goes on to tell about her experiences with five elements: dialogue, character, family relationships, economic class, and endings.

Comment: A difficult decision. RayS.

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