Part 1

The book Coraline by Neil Gaiman illustrates how theory can change how texts are read to children. Even though this book is meant for young readers, Gaiman opted to adopt some aspects of horror that make it seem inappropriate for the intended booklovers. For instance, the book features scary scenes such as the insect predator that replaces children’s eyes with buttons. This and other grotesque images illustrate how texts should be read to children. Every child reacts differently to scary material. Some kids do not mind battle scenes but may be disturbed by peril and tension. Other children may feel offended when an animal is injured but show no emotion when a person is killed. Some children may react this way because of certain events in their lives such as divorce or death of a loved one (Gaiman and McKean, 74).

In ‘Caroline’, we understand that there are certain images and events in a book that may upset a child’s wellbeing. However, this is not a precaution but a recommendation because cultivating fright is among the pleasures of youthful growth. As long as a book does not feature extreme death or violence, a book that elicits minor spookiness or unease is good for children. Therefore, when reading such texts to children, parents, teachers or guardians should learn to create safe reading environments even though the book being read has some aspects of horror (Santrock, 18). Through Gaiman’s book, the reader understands that reading texts to children in a particular way allows them to overcome their insecurities and fears. However, it may be difficult for parents to determine the appropriate material to read to their children.

Part 2

Chapter 5 in Perry Nodelman’s ‘The Pleasures of Children’s Literature’ holds that necessary components about childhood literature are based on assumptions about children that are false or contradictory. Based on these assumptions, children’s literature should be simple and lack sophisticated thought. Additionally, these assumptions hold that children are innocent naturally. Hence, books should not have any sexuality, violence or be scary. Moreover, Nodelman (24) argues that children have empty minds that are programmed with what the child is exposed. Hence, children are bound to imitate behaviors they see in literature therefore calling for proper guidance.

This chapter also illustrates childhood literature is based on the paradox that children have short attention spans or do not have the capacity for sophisticated thought. For this reason, children’s literature is often constructed with the aspect of simplicity. As far as the sophistication of a child is considered, much of what is believed about a child’s mental development comes from research and experiment (Berk, 32). Nodelman’s position on this issue is that because a child’s understanding is considered limited, then learning and literature materials are limited themselves. However, Nodelman contends that assumptions about children has a lot to do with what adults want them to become and less to do with what children are like naturally.

In conclusion, chapter five of Nodelman’s book offers a detailed and intrinsic insight on how children’s literature is constructed. According to Nodelman (47), society holds assumptions that consider children as innocent and lack the capacity for sophisticated thought. These assumptions are the reason that children’s literature is constructed in simple manner, and lacks numerous aspects present in adult literature. Additionally, Nodelman thinks that adults do not have full understanding of a child’s nature. Consequently, their literature is constructed in manner centered on the adult’s interests rather than that of the child.


Works Cited

Berk, Laura E. Child Development. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2007. Print.

Gaiman, Neil, and Dave McKean. Coraline. New York: HarperCollins, 2008. Print.

Huck, Charlotte S, Susan I. Hepler, and Janet Hickman. Children’s Literature. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 2011. Print.

Hunt, Peter, and Dennis Butts. Children’s Literature: An Illustrated History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print.

Nodelman, Perry. The Pleasures of Children’s Literature. New York: Longman, 2011. Print.

Santrock, John W. Child Development. Madison, Wis: Brown & Benchmark Publishers, 2009. Print.


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