In the world of literary writing, there exists a hierarchy defining the worth of writings within a genre.  For decades, this hierarchy has been controlled by the intellectual elite, the literary scholars, by whom the standards of literary quality and acceptability are set.  At the top of this list resides the works of academics, virtuosos of the vernacular, and literary geniuses.  And at the bottom? Children’s literature.  So, what is it that makes children’s books less significant than other works of fiction/nonfiction, and why shouldn’t they be canonized?  To answer such questions, one must look at children’s literature from a literary scholar’s perspective.

Scholars perceive works of children’s literature as often being simplistic, poorly constructed, and one dimensional.  These works are also riddled with clichés and follow basic typologies, making them seem unoriginal.  Works of children’s literature therefore appear as though they can be written by anyone, because they lack the linguistic finesse and intellectual merit characteristic of scholarly literature.  Despite its faults, scholars have become deeply distressed by the overwhelming and increasing popularity of works within the children’s literature genre, because its popularity spans all age groups.  This increased interest in children’s literature, combined with the increasingly apparent disinterest in traditional literature and classic novels, poses what scholars now consider an intellectual threat.  If it wasn’t bad enough that children and young adults were captivated by children’s literary prose, there are now adults setting aside classic novels by Hemingway, Hawthorne, Crosby, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, and Shakespeare (the great thinkers) to read the simplistic rubbish of Rowling, Riordan, Colfer, Lewis, Scott, and Meyer.  In a sense, scholars fear that a universal “dumbing-down” of society is taking place, initiated by popular children’s literature.

Contradictory to the beliefs of literary scholars, I believe that children’s literature should not be discounted as invaluable, simplistic rubbish containing no depth of plot, characters, or construction.  Growing up, I was never a huge fan of reading, rather preferring to spend my time in the outdoors or working on artistic projects.  It wasn’t until I was introduced to books such as the Harry Potter Series or the Inheritance Series that I actually took an interest in reading.  It was those novels that lead me into more advanced readings and eventually the creation of my own personal library.  It is also difficult to compare children’s literature to scholarly literature, because they are each geared toward entirely separate audiences.  Scholarly writings often contain complex mental, physical, and/or emotional issues that younger audiences are not as easily able to cope with or understand.  Even as adults, these depicted issues can become taxing on the mind, especially if the reader doesn’t take some time to detach themselves from the text.  Children’s literature acts as the perfect reprieve.  While the issues posed in children’s literature is not near as complex as in adult literature, many of the children’s books series present rather complex issues for the targeted audience.  For adults, these works are fun to read and reflect upon, while, although the books are fun to read for children also, the issues posed to children act a great learning experience on how to cope with new situations.  The presentation of these issues is done through twisting plots and adventures, both 2-Dimensional and 3-Dimensional characters, and an elaborately woven story.

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