Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Violence in children's literature

I am working on Series III of the Anastasia stories and have found myself thinking a lot about the level of violence in the stories.  Is it appropriate?  Is it sympathetically written?  Is it glamorised?   

The point is in Series III Anastasia is dealing with a crime world that is very real in our world today.  Is it wrong to bring this to the attention of teenagers?  I don't think so.  I think issues of baby napping, child trafficking and forced marriages are things that will affect some of our children and teenagers, and raising awareness can only be a good thing.  This is particularly focussed on in 'Anastasia - None But the Brave' and 'Anastasia - From Here to Eternity'.

There are many actual cases of children going missing, snatched from their families and never seen or heard of again.  There are cases of Asian girls missing, their own mothers having no idea what has happened then we hear how the girl has been shipped out to be married against her will.  These things are happening so frequently but such stories don't always make the news.

A lot of research would be needed to get a true picture.  In the stories Anastasia is using violence against the abusers.  She is working to put an end to the violence against the most vulnerable in our society.  Her gun could be any weapon but it is not intended to glamorise the use of guns in any way.  The people she is violent to are those responsible for awful crimes and there is no doubt about their input.

These stories are not suggesting we need to go out and try to stop these criminals ourselves but to raise awareness that something needs to be done.  The fact that our heroine is the one in the stories to infiltrate these crime worlds is a way to highlight just how these crimes are carried out.

Is the violence unnecessary?  No, I think it is necessary because, let's be honest, in reality these people wouldn't respond to a chat about maybe not committing the crimes anymore.  The stories are fiction but based on real crimes that happen every day.  

I find myself thinking of James Bond and how unrealistic aspects of those stories are and yet he had a huge following.  Why?  Because people want the bad people to be stopped and want good to prevail.  Why shouldn't the hero be a teenage girl rather than a man in a suit? 

If we want to bring about change then we need to highlight issues that may be being overlooked and that is what these books are about.  If the violence is too much then don't let your teenagers read the books because Series III has a large element of violence.

I do think it is unrealistic to shield children from the violence in our world today when many will be mugged for their mobile phones and it is likely that a weapon will be used to do this.  I think it's important to hope that someone will put an end to these crimes but we must all play our part in raising our own children's awareness of such issues not least to ensure they are mindful of their own safety.

It is a harsh world we live in and unrealistic to think we can shield our children from it all.

The stories are not all about violence, which isn't too graphic anyway, but about working together and a young girl's journey to discover who she really is and how she fits in the world.  If the violence worries you then these are not the books for you.  However if you want to read stories with action, adventure and crime then give them a go and make your own minds up.

The journey has begun... 

'Anastasia - None But the Brave' and
'Anastasia - From Here to Eternity' are both available to download now on Amazon

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