Empathy, Affect, and Friendship in Children's Literature
Whether people talk about their own experiences of childhood friendship or lack of friendship and sense of isolation, the concepts of friendship, social acceptance and rejection play a powerful role in childhood and are a perennial theme in children’s literature. Where is comfort, compassion, affirmation or information about social isolation or connection in today's literature? How do modern writers convey and express common human emotions of love, fear, anger, hate, and sadness in this effort to affect the child reader? And, do these reflect the changing construction of childhood as well as the deepening expansion of children’s literature into the domains of multiculturalism, diversity, and socio-economics? Examples continue in multiple media--from such dynamic texts as The Recess Queen and Jacqueline Woodson’s Each Kindness to the recent megapopular television series Stranger Things which defines friendship with rules like "friends don't lie" as a requisite for belonging to a group—friendship continues to be a central site of reflection in Children’s Literature.
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