Writing children isn’t easy.
Not writing for children, although that isn’t as easy as many people seem to think. 😉
Adults writing child characters often make the same mistakes.
Sometimes, the kids come across as cartoons, in the sense that they are sort of symbolic of a child, rather than trying to accurately display the way children think.
As I’ve said before, I love the Oz books…but Dorothy Gale doesn’t really read to me like an actual child.
There may be some cultural differences there: given when the book was written, and Dorothy’s agrarian enculturation (as you can tell, I might have more in common with the Woggle-Bug), it’s arguable that it would be harder for me to relate directly to Dorothy…but the same goes for all of the children in Oz books for me, from Trot to Button Bright.
Mark Twain is another favorite of mine…but I also don’t find Becky, Tom, and Huck, to be particularly realistic.
Maybe I tend to like books that aren’t exact replicas of my reality. 🙂
There are also times when people write kids just like they are adults. They aren’t…even though they are diverse, just like adults, they still have a different perspective…and not because they tend to be so much shorter than adults. 😉 I’ve always said that there are times when a pre-conversational child is standing there crying just from the realization that, “I’m only two feet tall!” 😉
Still, there are some people I think write children really well…and I still think they write great books.
I’ve just re-read
and then read
(you can read my review and analysis ((so SPOILER ALERT)) here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1362361030)
and Harper Lee is definitely one of those people who write children well…and I consider TKaM to be one of the truly great novels.
Stephen King is another one…I’d say particularly in
That’s not to say that I consider It in to be in the same stratum as TKaM…I don’t (although I think The Stand is way up there). It’s that I think the writing of the children feels realistic to me.
One more, and one who is certainly not as well known as the other two: Derek Swannson, particularly with the first book in the Crash Gordon series. You can read my
and I would suggest you take a look at that before you read the book…it’s not for everybody.
However, I think the writing of the children is as good as any I’ve read. Full disclosure: I did read the draft of the second book and made some suggestions (and was acknowledged in the book), but I don’t have any financial connection to the book and haven’t met Derek Swannson in real life. I was asked for input because of my review of the first book. I’ve given feedback to a few people on their manuscripts, but not as a paid editor. It’s fun for me to do, and I think I’m a reasonably good amateur at it, primarily as a reader, but also as a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, and a follower of publishing.
What do you think? Are there books you read where you think the author got the child characters right? Was that in book written to be read by or two children, or to be read by adults? What was it about the writing that worked for you? Do you want your books to seem like real life, or do you prefer them to be a different reality (or perhaps, you like both at different times)? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.
Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!
When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help!
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.