But where is the hope? Anne Fine says, when talking about children’s books.
Modern children’s books are too bleak, she says.
I have a disagreement with anyone who thinks that writing for children is fundamentally different to writing for adults. What I mean by that is there is a sense sometimes that part of our role as children’s writers is to protect children from the harsh realities of life.
But I am just a writer. I tell stories. I don’t have a role to make the world appear a better place for children.
I write crime stories for teens that often have dark and unpleasant story lines. They don’t end happily as such. The main characters go through a lot and I guess they come out the other end as a different person, maybe in some way a better person.
As an adult this is what I require in my own reading. I like my main characters to go through something, to change and develop.
I would, as an adult reader, hate it if the author manufactured some kind of ending that offered me a rosier view of the world.
So, when I write for teens, I do the same thing.
This does not mean that all teen (or children’s) books need to be dark. Variety is the key. I like to think that teens are just like any one else. They’ll read a dark book (perhaps one of mine) then they’ll go for something light, funny, fantastical, rude, historical or even something about a kid who goes off the rails and then gets offered a place at Rodean.