Children's Books discussion

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Themes, Topics & Categories > 80's-70's books VS. Modern Books

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

What are some differences you've noticed? What are the best pre-1990's books, in your opinion?


message 2: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 6171 comments Mod
Back then it seemed that books for middle schoolers, at least, tended to be issue-heavy. Judy Blume and Norma Klein were preaching to kids about how to cope with growing up and with family challenges like divorce.

Nowadays there's a domination of fantasy adventure for kids, it seems. And if the story takes place in the real world, it seems like it's usually a wholesome and mostly happy real world - not so much about kids who are almost better off on the streets as at home.

But then, I'm biased by what choose, and my impressions are probably very incomplete.

I'll have to look through My Books and see what I like from back then. Great question! I hope to see lots more responses.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you! I agree, there are a lot of old-ish books that deal with issues. Even the modern heavy ones, like Love, Aubrey, are slightly less depressing.


message 4: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 6171 comments Mod
That looks like an interesting book. I love the cover - it promises that the ending will let us hope for happier future for the characters.


message 5: by LauraW (new)

LauraW (lauralynnwalsh) | 127 comments I don't know. I am getting pretty tired of fantasy lately. Dragons, monsters, kids with special powers. When I come across some good realistic fiction, it is a relief. The older books have more realistic fiction - or at least the ones I read.


message 6: by Manybooks (last edited Nov 12, 2014 04:43AM) (new)

Manybooks | 7022 comments Mod
I've started actively rereading many of the older seventies and eighties children's literature, and I actually like many of them better than the more recent ones. That being said, there are also many recent historical fiction children's books that I've enjoyed, and there are also more recent children's books (realistic ones) about immigration, children with special needs, and school in general. One of the things to consider is while in the seventies and even in the early eighties, books that described issues and family problems were often considered rather risque (Judy Blume, Ellen Comford, Paula Danzinger), today, many of these erstwhile problematic and shocking issues are not considered to be as much of an issue anymore.

One thing I have noticed though is that aside from the children's fantasy books, there are also more books now (mostly realistic books) which feature time-traveling (most of these books have as themes a problem in the past that must be somehow rectified, but in some cases, there is actually talk of characters considering not coming back, although I have not seen that actually happen in the end). While I have read time travel books from the seventies and eighties (and even earlier), the amount of time travel books for children and young adults seems to be more numerous recently.


message 7: by Emily (last edited Nov 12, 2014 07:46AM) (new)

Emily What an interesting question. I was a child in the 1970s and a teen in the 1980s, so I was the original market for the books published then, and for the most part, I avoided them! Like Cheryl noted, a lot of them were problem novels, and they seemed very consciously aimed at "today's kids," with worldy-wise disaffected protagonists. I, who was in many respects very young for my age, and almost totally out of the loop as far as pop culture and music went, did not relate at all. Instead, I returned again and again to certain favorite series and books: Narnia, the Little House series, Swallows and Amazons, The Secret Garden and Little Women.
I remember reading Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, just for the curiosity factor, but having read it, I felt no desire to return to it, or to seek out anything else by Judy Blume.

I also agree with the observation that post-Harry Potter, the children's book landscape has become way too heavy with fantasy. For a time I tried to keep up with what was being published, but all the different series have long since blurred together and become interchangeable in my mind.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

A thought that belongs in this thread:
yesterday I used a huge list of books that I found in the Read-Aloud Handbook to add to my (already large) TBR pile. This was the older edition, so every book was from the 80's or earlier! A lot of them did seem to be realistic fiction; I'm sure I found some fantasy titles, but I can't remember any, so that drives home what everyone's been saying. ;)


message 9: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 6171 comments Mod
Oh, good data point, thanks for sharing!


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