The Lion, the Books and the Children
Dr. Peter Schakel
The books we read as children have a way of staying with us for the rest of our lives, unlike anything else we will ever read. Many books written for children have the ability to be immensely impactful to both adult and children readers. Because children’s literature can be extremely powerful, especially when read at a young age, it is important that the literature and its influence be given critical thought. In his writing, C. S. Lewis deals extensively with the writing and effective use of children’s literature. Lewis’ series of children’s books, The Chronicles of Narnia, is one of the many wonderful examples of children’s literature that becomes a part of its readers and stays with them long past childhood. In this research, I use the example of The Chronicles of Narnia to explore children’s literature, fairy tales, and their impact on young readers to determine what makes a piece of children’s literature effective, what well-written children’s literature can do, and who should be reading it. Many scholars have written about and analyzed the themes presented in The Chronicles of Narnia and these themes, such as forgiveness, reconciliation, and humility, are relevant and important to readers both young and old. I examine not only the themes themselves but their impact on readers and how communicating these themes through a children’s story can be extremely effective.
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