If you’ve ever feared that your manuscript is too “real” for children, or if you feel the urge to write about a sanitized reality in order to protect young readers, remember this: kids learn how to navigate the world through their books. And if they are experiencing pain, seeing that pain acknowledged in a story helps them know they are not alone. But you should really hear this from two of the greatest children’s book writers of our time.


Matt de la Pena, in his essay “Why We Shouldn’t Shield Children From Darkness” for Time magazine, and Kate DiCamillo’s response, “Why Children’s Books Should Be a Little Sad“, beautifully articulate how a little sadness in a children’s book teaches readers that they can, indeed, bear the burdens life may give them.




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