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Opening doors for children

19 October 2009

'In the Fifties, when a strong child was dealing with difficult circumstances, there was always a rescue at the end of the book and it was always a middle-class rescue. The child would win a scholarship to Roedean or something, and go on to do very well. That was felt to be unrealistic and so there was a move away from that. Books for children became much more concerned with realism, or what we see as realism.

But where is the hope? How do we offer them hope within that? It may be that realism has gone too far in literature for children. I am not sure that we are opening doors for children who read these books, or helping them to develop their aspirations.

'I can't see how we roll back from this without returning to the sort of fiction that is no longer credible - books with a Blyton-ish view of things.'

Anne Fine in The Times