What is Children's Literature?

What are its characteristics?

Which of these would you agree it must be or is?

1. Simple and straightforward. Not simplistic or choppy or flat without flow and intrigue.

2. Depends on action to maintain interest. Can there be action without action? Are thoughts action? Are other character's inactions actions? Are external events included in the narration, comments and other writing techniques action?

3. Has characters that are children. Includes childhood events, actions, happenings. Can it be children's literature if there aren't children? Or if the main character isn't a child?

4. Expresses a child’s point of view.

5. Is optimistic. There is always hope, foreshadowing and other elements to raise spirits periodically.

6. Tends toward fantasy and accepts fanciful ideas without major concern of reality. Wishful thinking is common.

7. There is a tone of joy and innocence associated with children, agricultural life, closeness to nature and unquestionably reliable friends.

8. Can have it both ways. Your cake and eat it too. Dangerous world yet nieve innocence children can roam through it. Dangerous world out there and yet the comforts of home. Grow up and remain young. Complex yet simple.

9. Is it or does it always have to be didactic and teach a lesson or have redeaming social qualities that have a positive theme. A universal theme of home is boring, but it is a better place to be than the dangerous world outside.

10. Includes repetition. Often emphasizes what is important, repetition is a common element of traditional tales, folk tales, and fairy tales as well as for literary purposes by repeating words, phrases, situations, and patterns.

11. Contrasts extremes. The good and the bad. The ideal and the practical, ideal family and the orphan, home and wilderness or deep dark forest with all kinds of evil. Group and family responsibility and concern for yourself.

12. Can it be children's literature if it was written for adults and was adopted by children?

Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes