I love books from kid's pov, most of the books I read are. My shortlist: Everything Matters! by Ron Currie Jr., Apologize, Apologize! by Elizabeth Kelly, When We Were Romans by Matthew Kneale, Up High in the Trees by Kiara Brinkman, The Last Child by John Hart, The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen, The Dolphin People by Torsten Krol, When the Finch Rises by Jack Riggs, Wolf Boy by Evan Kuhlman, Submarine by Joe Dunthorne, Room by Emma Donoghue, My Side Of The Story by Will Davis
I think The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas is really worth a look at if you want to write from a child's POV. It really captures the innocence that is needed for that view of the world.
Edit: My b, you can’t hyperlink in asks, just weirdly in their responses? So I’ll start doing it :)
Also about the POV question.. again a teen book, but I've always thought GG. Kay's Ysabel was a good adult book with an authentic sounding teen narrator, in this case a 14 yr old boy. It's also just an awesome fantasy, read it if you can. :)
I’ll put it on my list, thanks!
For the person who is trying to write from the POV of a child, I would suggest reading Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. The speaker in that book is older, 14 I think, but I just think the book does a really good job of speaking from the POV of a child/teen without it sounding like a teenie-bopper story. The book has very adult content and is told very honestly. I know it's ab out a teen, but it might help.
Speak is maybe my favorite YA book of all time! I’ve read it like 5 times. And actually, Kristen Stewart played the main character in the movie adaptation—that was the first movie I saw her in, and I was a big fan of hers until Twilight.
Do asks let you hyperlink text? We all have to remember—including me!—to try to hyperlink book titles back to their pages on their publishers’ websites (not Amazon!). It’s the right thing to do, yaknow?
To the person who wanted to write from the POV of a child, an obvious and not-too-difficult way of doing this is by narrating things that children don't see second meaning in. For example, narrating an event that is actually crucial for the novel (ie, seeing mrs Doe out with her neighbor mr Bloggs even though mrs Doe is married) from a really innocent, vague and maybe even confused pov- you don't even need to talk like a child vocab-wise, just narration-wise!
I'm thinking about entering a competition for short stories, and I'll probably use the POV of a child (9-11 years old). So I was wondering if you, or someone else, have some tips on writing from the POV of a child, whitout it being a story for children. I still want it to be for older readers, and the subject is kind of a serious and sad one. I'm thinking about the way Harper Lee wrote the "To Kill a Mockingbird", but I still need some advice. Thanks!
I always have a hard time with this too! Cause I love writing from the point of view of teenagers (it’s the easiest age for me to write, being only a little older myself), but I don’t want everything I write to sound YA.
But you’re on the right track—I’d suggest reading more stories like To Kill a Mockingbird and studying what it is about that story that works. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is another book that comes to mind that’s narrated by a kid, but isn’t a kid’s book.
Another thing to consider, and that we talked about a lot in my fiction writing class last fall, was when your narrator is writing this down. Your narrator could be a 40 year old man writing about the period of time when he was 9, 10, and 11, without mentioning anything that happened in his adult life. Think the narrator on The Wonder Years. You just obviously have to use past tense. That way, you can use “big” language concerning events that happened to a child because he/she is looking back at them as an adult.
Hope that helps. Do others have anything to add?
I feel like if its done tastefully, there is nothing wrong with having mentions of suicide in a children's book. Sheltering children from things like that doesn't always end well. I feel there would be controversy and backlash from parents for it, because that happens with anything even slightly controversial and is something the writer should be prepared for. But I feel its appropriate to write about.
When it comes to mature content in children's books, I think it depends on the child(ren) in question. Kids mature at varying speeds, so something appropriate for one fifth grader can be inappropriate for another child of the same age.
Maurice Sendak wrote children's books, and he wrote about dark things too. But I think for that particular age group, allegorical stories work far better than literal ones. So maybe using an animal/insect to transpire what you want a human to say could work as a device for getting the message across.
On the topic of dark children's books: I think what was previously deemed acceptable is being altered in the next generation of books (and other media I suppose). More and more children's books are addressing controversial topics like death, war, sexuality, etc. because our children are being affected by "society" at increasingly early ages. I vote that having a character reflect on suicide is completely warranted by the statistics of youth suicides. Exposure brings understanding.
I think people forget that children are unfortunately not exempt from issues like suicide. They might have a situation involving it in their family and it's not impossible for them to be thinking about it themselves, even though that is incredibly sad. I think children who've dealt with death might feel less alone reading a book about other people who've dealt with it. It really does depend on the child, though, and that can make it difficult. Basically, I agree with the answer.
Children's books are usually happy works with easy topics to speak about, and then there are books that are darker and deeper. The best example I can think is Harry Potter, which tackles many themes, but most of all death. How far do you think children's book can go before it's too much? For what I'm writing, I'm going for young readers (5th grade up), and it talks about the regret one character feels after his suicide. Is that too dark for children? Anyone can gladly put their opinion in!
In my opinion, I don’t think so, as long as the writing is appropriate to the age group and the material is treated in a way that someone that young can understand. But I have a really strong belief in not sheltering children from real world issues.