Fantasy and the Real World in British Children's Literature : The Power of Story
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter sequence has been widely credited with bringing thousands of children to reading; but what do they learn from that reading? This book examines the children’s fantasies of three extraordinary British writers - J.K. Rowling, Diana Wynne Jones, and Terry Pratchett - and investigates their use of narrative strategies to engage children in reading and educate them into becoming more mature readers and indeed individuals. The author argues that these three writers do not deploy fantasy either as mere escapism or as a mask for didactic moralising, but instead demonstrate the ethical power of fantasy and the imagination itself in real-world interaction. She demonstrates how Jones, Pratchett and Rowling, all in very different ways, introduce readers to the unpleasantness of the real world and equip them with the strategies with which to survive it. This book illuminates the reading education provided by all three writers, demonstrating how they deploy and critique devices of fantasy fiction both to engage readers and to encourage meditation on the nature and meaning of identity and personal responsibility.