Maybe only I got irritated with Dumbledore, but it's a common malady in kidlit (and in Disney films, don't get me started) that parents are among the missing or the dead. Anne-with-an-e is perky and chipper, yet has her sad orphan tale, Oliver Twist figures out he can't trust Fagin, and Nancy Drew knows she can drive around in the convertible solving mysteries, and still be in a fresh twinset and pearls by the time her erstwhile father gets home. Once writers got past the 19th and early 20th century moral tales, in which the adult is always right, there evolved a lot of negative press for adults in children's lit, and we're becoming increasingly harder on adults every day. Parker Peeveyhouse has asked a great question about those absent adults in children's science fiction and fantasy.
The nice thing is, young readers have real adults to help them and care for them. And those who don’t can take courage from similarly disadvantaged literary heroes. But how do you think children are affected by reading about powerless, ruthless adults? How can these extremes be tempered in novels–or should they?
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