Are some kids’ books really for grown-ups?
There are a lot of books out there labeled as “kids books,” but have you ever noticed that some of them are more like “kids books for grown-ups”?
A well known example is The Golden Compass. It’s got a fun-sounding title, a colorful cover, and it’s even about a couple of kids. But the kids don’t act like any kids that age I know, and the story telling style isn’t really aimed at kids — young adults, more like; but not the middle-graders who are offered this book.
Another, much older, example is Ender’s Game. Same deal. Passed off as a kids book because of the age of the main character, but it’s as depressing as sad-dog-eyes, and the subject matter seems more aimed at adults remembering how bogus childhood can sometimes be than for actual kids who want to be entertained.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve really gotten into some of these types of books — as a young adult. I’m just not sure publishers or authors should pretend they target a middle-grade audience. Any thoughts? Should a book be categorized just by the age of the main character?