Children's and Adolescent Literature

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To what extent does modern children's literature empower the reader?

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In most classroom environments, and even in casual reading circles, children's literature is often overlooked completely. By the time students are old enough to be studying literature in any sort of critical capacity, they are introduced to standards like Fitzgerald and Steinbeck. This is understandable. After all, The Great Gatsby is a veritable display case of the most prominent literary techniques.

However, young teenagers often find themselves immediately alienated from the literary world when they are introduced to literature that is inaccessible and doesn't immediately capture their imagination. Ask any person who has a strong affinity for literature about the first books that they took an interest in, and almost always they will tell you about all the children and young adult's literature that first piqued their interest.

This is the way that modern children's literature empowers its reader. It allows them to feel a sense of accomplishment and personal pride in overcoming a piece of writing after having truly absorbed it, rather than simply having memorized it for a test. For both young people and foreign language speakers, this can be an almost life changing experience. People are quick to write children's literature off as juvenile, but often children's authors put as much care in their thematic sensibilities as any writer. Finally, masterpieces of modern children's literature, such as Tom's Midnight Garden, teach literary techniques while giving young people a story that they can relate to.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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