Reading with children

a blog by Magic Tales

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall - How Does Children’s Literature Reflect Justice and Fairness?

Once Upon a Time, children's books were simple stories with straightforward morals. But in today’s complex world, they have evolved into intricate tales filled with depth and layers, ready to guide our young ones navigate the labyrinth of life values. Particularly, the portrayal of justice and fairness in children's literature influences our children's developing perceptions of right and wrong, and shapes their moral compass. Let's take a closer look into this often overlooked aspect of children's books.

Good Triumphs Over Evil
From Cinderella's wicked stepmother receiving her comeuppance to the Big Bad Wolf finally facing justice for his misdeeds, the theme of good triumphing over evil is deeply embedded in children's literature. Such narratives provide a sense of justice being served and wrongdoing being punished, which aids children in understanding the societal need and appreciation for justice and fairness.

Mad Hatters and Wise Owls
Often, wisdom and righteousness are embodied in animal characters, like the wise old owl or the sly fox. These characters engage children’s imagination while subtly providing them valuable lessons about justice, fairness, deceit, honesty, and their consequences. Through these appealing metaphors, children's literature often unrolls a roadmap to a morally aligned lifestyle.

Inequality Seeded in Innocence
Early exposure to the inherent inequalities of the world is rather inevitable, albeit difficult. Children's books serve this purpose deftly. The poverty-stricken Charlie from 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' or the oppressed Boxer in 'Animal Farm' are examples where the unfairness of life circumstances and systemic injustices are gently introduced to our children. Far from overburdening young readers, these stories instead nourish their innate empathy and inspire them to empathize with those less fortunate.

The Trials and Triumphs of Heroes
Our childhood heroes weren't perfect, they faced challenges. But they always strove to be fair, to choose right over easy. Think of Harry Potter rewarded for showing moral courage rather than cunning, or Bilbo Baggins choosing honesty over greed. This crucial aspect of children's literature reinforces the significance of justice and fairness, teaching young readers that while life can sometimes be unjust, individuals must stand steadfastly by sound moral principles.

In essence, children’s literature is a powerful tool that effectively imprints the ideals of justice and fairness in the forming minds. It is there, in the land far, far away, where our children learn their first lessons about morality. Thus, it remains our responsibility as parents, educators, and societies to cherry-pick the right narratives that will steer our young ones towards a life filled with justice, fairness, and moral courage.

And they lived, learning and growing, happily ever after.

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