Recently, one of my friends read The Little Princess, a recommended book on Litkidz.com, and she responded by writing,
I don´t know if I will read it to any kid. It made me cry several times …. father dead and the same day turned into a servant…. I don´t know what good that could do to a kid. … It is very well written but isn´t it too much Dickens style for today?… Mixed feelings; I liked it but I don´t think I will buy it for a kid.
I think it’s a wonderful observation- what good does it do to offer such hardship to children? I think it really depends on the child. For example, some of the children I work with come from very difficult home situations, and reading about a child who overcomes hardship could be very healing.
But then, how far do you go in portraying difficulties? I just finished reading a book called Good Night, Mr. Tom, by British author Michelle Magorian. I loved the book and was ready to put it on the website, until mid-way through the book, a chapter very graphically depicts the abuse that the young boy receives from his mentally unstable mother. It was terribly upsetting. And in the end, for me, it ruins my ability to recommend the book. It is one thing to create a character who is suffering or lived in a difficult situation. However, it is another thing to bring children right into the terrifying situation.
What do you think?