Lauren Child used a speech on 21st September to call for attitudes towards creative work for children, including books, illustration, art and music, to change.
In what is described as a "manifesto", the creator of the Charlie & Lola, Clarice Bean and Ruby Redford series challenges the "common, lazy" assumption that creative work for children is approached with "less seriousness" than writing for an adult audience.
Child spoke at an event at the Foundling Museum, of which she is a fellow and recent curator of a programme exploring the importance of writers and artists in young people’s lives.
She said: “There is a common, and lazy, assumption that creating work with children in mind is easier or less demanding and that a writer or artist would approach it with a lesser degree of seriousness or sincerity than when creating for an adult audience. I do not believe that to be true. One might as well suggest that shorter books hold less meaning than longer ones, or large paintings are better than small. Nevertheless, the view prevails, something which leads one to wonder: what unhappy reality does its existence reveal about the way many view our children and our child selves?
“The experiences of our early years are in the bones of us. We grow with our experiences, remembered or not. We don’t become adult and simply shed our child-self as soon as we reach a particular age. Those childhood experiences are part of who we are and they do not have less impact because we were little when they occurred, quite the contrary.”
Child has two forthcoming books, with Clarice Bean: Think Like an Elf out this autumn and the next Clarice Bean novel scheduled with HarperCollins for summer 2022.