08 December 2013
Children's Literature as a Moral Compass
Children's' Literature began to be more widely published during the seventeen hundreds. At the time children's books were didactic or they were written to teach moral and spirituality (State University). Since its beginnings to the twenty one century, the books written for children have transform enormously to include picture books and almost all the genres for adult readers (State University). The original concept of teaching morals and values to children has change in the way that now books have to entertain and engage too in order to grab the young reader's attention. Valuable works of Children's literature from different genres teach priceless life lessons to provide a vicarious experience to young readers. Genres like modern fantasy, realistic fiction, historical fiction, and multicultural fiction provide the opportunity to expose kids to different situations, characters, and backgrounds. These different genres of Children's literature allow kids to identify with decisions, morals, and values of the different characters. When children identify and appropriate a character's personality and principles, they begin to better understand their own ethics and ideals as a result of their experiences through literature. As a result of this experience, children's behavior and moral standards reshape, transform, or grow to understand the goodness and evilness in human nature.
Children's learn about moral values through likeable characters who are admired or loved by others in their community or social group. For example, in the book Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, the protagonist, Billy Colman is a ten year-old boy who is very determine to get what he wants. He works really hard to gain the money to buy his dogs, and he always shows his persistency when training his dogs and hunting raccoons. Billy, as the main character, awakes in children the desire to be like him because he has a lot of adventures and fun with his dogs. By all meanings Billy represents the values of respect, hard working, persistency, and love for the family and his animals. Despite the sad end of Billy's dogs, the children who read the book learn that there is always hope because Billy is surrounded by the love of his family and the admiration of his community. However, nothing diminish the pain of the death of a loved one and everybody has to learn to live with it. Billy recognizes how the dead of his dogs has changed him forever. "I'm sure the red fern has grown and has completely covered the two little mounds. I know it is still there, hiding its secret beneath those long, red leaves, but it wouldn't be hidden from me for part of my life is buried there too. Yes, I know it is still there, for in my heart I believe the legend of the sacred red fern." (Rawls 270). Other memorable characters who teach children about values are Peter from the book The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and Annemarie from the book Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. Both characters teach about bravery in their own way. Peter represents the value of bravery because he overcomes his fears to do what he thinks is right. " Peter did not feel very brave; indeed, he felt he was going to be sick. But that made no difference to what he had to do." (Lewis 131). He fights bravely because it is what is expected from him. In Annemarie case, she has to deliver a package to his uncle despite her fear of the German soldiers. She does not consider herself very brave until her uncle said she was. "Brave? Annemarie asked, surprised. No, I wasn't. I was very frightened." "You risked your life." "But I didn't even think about that! I was only thinking of -" "He interrupted her, smiling. That's all that brave means -not thinking about the dangers. Just thinking about what you must do." (Lowry 123). Both, Peter and Annemarie focus in their duties, so they can overcome