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Signs of Childness in Children’s Books 2

June 9, 2012

“In her essay ‘Looking at children: The history of childhood 1600 to the present’, Christina Hardyment… stresses the change in the child’s role from contributor to consumer in the economic ethics of family life. (Childhood is now an experience of consuming food, clothes and entertainments manufactured outside the home and bought with their parents’ hard-earned cash, rather than a matter of learning about and contributing to a busy centre of production.)” (57)

“…a sense of personal existence as a lifelong story is essential to it…. It seems likely that people choose to write for children, or find that their books are children’s books, because these origins and continuities of self execute their imagination more strongly than they do for other writers, and release an appropriate aesthetic of literary method.” (70)

“Is the child a proto-adult, in linear development to maturity? Or is childhood a distinct and separate biological state?” (80)

“Do we believe that somewhere under the diversity of child experience there is a universal bedrock of common needs, desires and behaviour that we call childhood, or that everything depends on environment, experience, and social conditioning?” (81)

“Since every twelve-year-old reader will bring his or her own childness into dialogue and negotiation with that presented in books, and since every child’s childness is necessarily unique, a multiplicity of readings will be generated.” (86)

“Childhood has changed in recent years. Its duration, sophistication, and relationship to adulthood are not what they were. In particular, the balance of power between child and parent has changed and with it the basis on which good family relationships are built.” (110)

Ref: Peter Hollindale Signs of Childness in Children’s Books

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