I realized after reading this interview with the Gossip Girl creator Cecily von Ziegesar, that I tend to always find books for my daughter that have some kind of lesson in it, either educational or emotional. But mom of two von Ziesgesar? She doesn’t agree.
She recently did an interview with Media Bistro saying, “I absolutely hate kids’ books that have lessons telling kids how to behave. For me, that is not the role of fiction at all.” She spoke about her own ridiculously popular series saying… “I’m writing books that are appealing and entertaining. I think anybody who’s sitting down to read my books knows that. I never once said that I was writing books with guidelines for how to live. I mean, they’re fiction, and I think that’s the role of fiction: to entertain. And I don’t care whether it’s for children or for adults. That’s what fiction is about: escaping into another world.”
An interesting take. But sometimes the lessons are there just in a subtle way. Like the Harry Potter series may not scream “this is a lesson,” yet there are themes that teach children about bravery, friendship and loyalty.
Von Ziesgesar addressed the fact that parents may not be fans of her work saying, “if my books are not the kind of books that these parents want their kids to read, then tell your kids not to read them. And they’ll read them under the covers with the flashlights. I’m a parent, and I don’t understand that sort of censorship, because everybody has a sort of taste for something different. And you can’t prevent somebody from reading something. I try to write the best books that I can write. And if they don’t like them, then they don’t have to read them.”
Do you think books for kids, tweens and teens need to have some kind of lesson in them?