Is There a Clear Divide Between Books for Adults and Books for Children?

Is there a clear divide between books for adults and books for children?

There are many factors to consider when attempting to answer this question. What are the distinguishing characteristics of books for children? Are there any perspicuous themes, characters and plots? Do they convey a child’s or adults perspective and how? To what extent, if any, are they educational and how do they reflect childhood conceptions in different periods of history?

Looking at the first element of what distinguishing features children’s books have; we can quite simply cast our minds back to when we were children ourselves and what attracted us to the first books we chose. Bright, vivid colours, simplified text and many pictorial aids are the main ingredients of what make books appealing to young children. Hunt (p12) argues ‘it is important because it is embedded in our cultural, educational and social thinking central to the success of publishing and media and crucial to our understanding of literacy and personal development’.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is an example of how the persuasive powers of the media can promote a book to both children and adults however, both will perceive the themes differently, therefore creating a clear divide as adults will look more closely and see the problems which would, perhaps, not be obvious to a child. Certain ideas, for example; witchcraft and wizardry are more adult themed whereas the adventure and ‘happy ending’ element appeal more to a child’s imagination. Furthermore the use of original and humorous names such as the characters Harry encounters in Diagon Alley, ‘Delighted, Mr. Potter, just can’t tell you. Mr. Diggle’s the name, Deladus Diggle’. (p 54).

If one looks at the characters in Harry Potter we see that they would appeal to a child’s mind. A perfect example would be Hagrid the grounds keeper. To a young person he would seem adventurous and child-like as he breaks the rules and breaches school confidentiality....