I do not write for children, but entirely for myself. Yet I do write for some children, and have done so from the beginning.
This wonderful, contradictory statement comes from Alan Garner, who merits a place – at least in my mind – at the high table of children’s fantasy literature. Garner continues:
Only recently have I come to realise that, when writing for myself, I am still writing for children; or, rather, for adolescents. By adolescence I mean an arbitrary age of somewhere between ten and eighteen. This group of people is the most important of all, and it makes the best audience. Few adults read with a comparable involvement.
…Which is why children’s literature is so varied and vibrant a genre. And it’s why the best books transcend the label to embody the quintessential aspects of storytelling that appeal to the human spirit. When we think of children’s fantasy, we tend to picture Carroll, Lewis, Tolkien and, more recently, Rowling. Great names certainly, but we rarely stop to appreciate just how profound an influence such fantasy – branded for children – has had and is having on the genre as a whole.