• Children's literature: young readers, older authors

    Vanessa Joosen (see profile)
    Children's literature, Children's literature and digital humanities
    Children's literature, Aging
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Permanent URL:
    Although literary scholars must take heed of drawing simplistic parallels between authors’ lives and their fictional works, writers rely on experiences from real life as the context and inspiration for their works. Scholars in age studies have noted that authors sometimes turn to the subject of old age when they grow old themselves, or that they approach the topic differently as they age. This chapter focuses on children’s literature to explore the age of the author in the intergenerational communication that this discourse typically sets up, with adult authors and young (as well as adult) readers. The #own voices debate that is best known from critical race studies and disability studies finds a parallel in children’s literature studies with a renewed interest in child authors. Yet, as Marah Gubar argues, seeing the relationship between children and adults solely in terms of alterity is limiting – they are also akin. Following the stages of the life course, the chapter explores how adult authors of children’s literature construct a life phase (childhood / adolescence) from which they are growing increasingly distant. On the basis of seven interviews with authors and theories from age studies and children’s literature studies, the chapter brings to the fore factors that contribute to or inhibit establishing intergenerational kinship in the writing process. As ‘former’ children, several authors draw on their memories in their fiction, even if those recollections are involuntarily distorted or willingly revised in the process. At the same time, children’s books also reflect the interests and concerns of the authors’ adulthood. For some older authors, modern technology and social media in particular have put a limit to their capability of writing children’s literature.
    Published as:
    Book chapter    
    Last Updated:
    6 months ago
    All Rights Reserved

    This item will be available for download beginning 09/19/2024