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Fine attacks 'too realistic' children's literature
25.08.09 | Graeme Neill
Former Children's Laureate Anne Fine has warned that "realism has gone too far" in contemporary children's literature. The Times reports that Fine has claimed modern day children's books are bleak, with little to inspire young readers.
She said: "In the Fifties, when a strong child was dealing with difficult circumstances, there was always a rescue at the end of the book and it was always a middle-class rescue. The child would win a scholarship to Roedean or something, and go on to do very well. That was felt to be unrealistic and so there was a move away from that. Books for children became much more concerned with realism, or what we see as realism."
She added: "But where is the hope? How do we offer them hope within that? It may be that realism has gone too far in literature for children. I am not sure that we are opening doors for children who read these books, or helping them to develop their aspirations."
Fine was speaking at Compelling Novels, Vulnerable Children, an event organised by the umbrella group Children in Scotland for the Edinburgh Book Festival.
However, current Children's Laureate Anthony Browne disagreed. He said: "There are both types of endings, happier and unhappier. I prefer open endings. I don’t think we are living in an age of depressing, dark endings. If you look at Jacqueline Wilson, she does deal in gritty realism, but her books don’t lack aspiration."