30th October 2012

Escape in a children’s story

Remember how fun reading was when you were a kid? Joelle Jefferis advocates reigniting the adventure

I love reading. I always have done. I read because I want to be thrown into another world, interacting with fascinating characters and having adventures that I could never do in reality. Quite simply, a novel to me is an escape. This is why I see no reason to ever stop reading so-called ‘children’s literature’. The biggest adventures of my life have been at through the words of these skilful narrators. I feel too many authors suffer at the hands of demography fascism when in fact their works can easily match and surpass the quality of their ‘adult’-fiction equivalents.

If we turn to the phenomenon that is Harry Potter, books that parents would pick up for themselves after story time, it is clear that the distinction is moot when the story is good enough. So popular were the books with adults that Bloomsbury re-printed the series with special ‘grown-up’ covers. Here’s the crux of it, then, why did the adult versions need different covers? Is it shameful to enjoy a book just because it’s been classed as ‘for children’?

JK Rowling is just the tip of the children’s author iceberg. Anthony Horowitz, Eoin Colfer, Diana Wynne Jones and Phillip Pullman all fill the children’s section shelves with the adventures of your wildest dreams; it seems a shame to forget them simply because their covers are too childish. I have come to the conclusion that books are classed for children simply for their absence of graphic sex scenes. So if that is the kind of ‘adult’ book you’re looking for, you won’t find it in the children’s section (I hope).

This absence, however, doesn’t affect the quality of the writing or story for me. In fact, I’d argue that it improves a story; there are no plot contrivances to make room for romantic detours for the sake of sealing the ‘adult’ label. This often makes stories neater and provides more of an impact. Whereas in the case of the biggest selling adult book of the year, 50 Shades of Grey, messy plot points are cleared out of the way for the real ‘romance’.

My counsel is this: next time you go to the bookshop don’t simply pass by the kids section without a second glance. Lurking beneath those bright or garish covers could be an old favourite or an engaging adventures. It’s a classic case of don’t judge a book by its cover!

More Coverage

Poetic Prizes: The Forward Prizes takes on the North

After relocating to Manchester’s Contract Theatre, the Mancunion attends the prestigious Forward Prizes for a night of awe and bereavement

Book references in Taylor Swift’s songs: Lyrical masterpieces

Taylor Swift has dominated the music industry for over ten years. She has ten original award-winning studio albums, with her most recent one, Midnights, breaking Spotify records. Swift’s love of books is no secret, especially when considering the many books she has recommended over the years. This includes Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney, recently […]

Review: The Leviathan

Witchcraft. Demonic possession. All-knowing entities. these are just a few of the themes to expect in Rosie Andrew’s explosive debut novel

A Bookmark biography: The charity that helps children read

As well as providing all the information you need to know about who Bookmark are, what they do and how you can get involved, the Mancunion interviews Bookmark’s Anna Pickles to ask about all the extra info, plus her favourite book

Copyright © The Mancunion
Powered By Spotlight Studios

0161 275 2930  University of Manchester’s Students’ Union, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PR