Children’s books aren’t just another genre of books. They are their own type of literature, like poetry, short stories, and novels. In fact, there are several types. Children’s books include rhyming stories, picture books with only a few sentences, chapter books for beginning readers, up to full novel-length books like the first parts of Harry Potter, or the various series written by Enid Blyton, a famous British children’s book writer. They have one thing in common, though: They are all written for a unique audience.
First of all, just like with any audience, there is no such thing as “the child”. Each child is different, with his or her own preferences, own development pace, and own view of the world. What makes children unique, though, is their curious and honest view of the things around them. They are not yet biased, and many things are still utterly new to them. They experience the world in a different way than adults. At the same time, they still have a vivid fantasy, something many adults need to relearn. For children, fantastic and “unreal” things can be logical, while many “mundane” things in life still hold manifold wonders for them.
Let’s take a rainbow, for example. When an adult sees a rainbow, he might admire it for a moment and then go back to whatever he was doing beforehand. It’s just a reflection of raindrops in the sunlight, after all, right? Well, if you ask a child about a rainbow, you might hear things like “It’s a bridge to rainbowland”, or “It’s a gigantic slide for angels.”
Someone who still talks to imaginary friends can easily believe in a story about speaking animals. At some point in life, most people lose this imagination (and those who don’t are usually called writers). On the other hand, many children see through lies and hypocrisy. In their innocent thirst for knowledge, they might challenge the very core beliefs of our world with their questions. For them, a simple “because it is like that” often isn’t satisfying.