Is The World of Fiction Good for Kids…
Fiction- Good or Bad for Children?
Ghosts, vampires, demons, wizards…all items you could easily find in a fictional story. Or all items that some parents may feel would give their child nightmares. Is fiction something we should keep away from our children? Two experts in the field of fiction comment.
“First of all fiction is really just a reflection of reality told in a way designed to fire up the imagination. For example, Aesop’s and LaFontaine’s Fables are books of moral codes for kids and examples of human behavior which are dressed up as fictional parables. If they had been set out in a nonfiction way, they would have seemed dull and boring.
Science Fiction is the one fiction which has inspired people more than any other. For example, many scientists have stated that they only became scientists because of the SF novels they read as kids. Science Fiction can also inspire the young to invent new ideas decades later. In the article above, it mentioned that Arthur C Clarke had written a novel decades ago about a space elevator linking Earth and Space. Now, according to New Scientist, scientists are studying a new material which might serve for that purpose.
Other non-scientists have been inspired by SF as children. The film director James Cameron, for example, lists the SF writers Arthur C Clarke and A E Van Vogt, who he read as a child, as being a major influence on his later career.
SF books can also be a very good way to preach to people about modern-day issues. Frank Herbert, for instance, was always deeply interested in environmentalism, but he realized that if he wrote about the subject merely as nonfiction he would be constantly restricted to writing about dull facts. He therefore created the book “Dune” which is a novel about a desert planet with a fragile ecosystem ruthlessly exploited by Mankind. The result was that this became the bestselling SF novel of all time, and inspired many people to support the environment than would otherwise have been the case.
Generally speaking, SF is a far more imaginative genre than any other type of fiction. Where else, can you dream up entire new worlds, alien societies, different periods of history and different technologies. Other fiction sub genres are restricted by the society or historical period they focus on, so that they often are in danger of becoming clinched and stereotypical. SF is different in that it has evolved continuously since H G Welles and Jules Verne, with dozens of subcategories such as cyberpunk, soft/hard SF, etc. etc.” -Geoff Purcell
And Sue Kayton comments “I believe that children should read a mix of fiction and non-fiction. The benefits of non-fiction are obvious, but fiction is also necessary for a well-rounded person. Speculative fiction helps kids think about what the future might be like, and encourages them to think outside the box, such as the Harry Potter novels or Jurassic Park. Historical fiction with interesting protagonists helps kids understand what the world used to be like, through the eyes of the ordinary people of the day. Contemporary fiction helps them to understand interpersonal relationships and current issues, especially helpful to adolescents dealing with dating, drugs, and pressure from school and friends. Mystery stories like Sherlock Holmes encourage critical thinking skills, while the reader tries to put two and two together to figure out whodunit. Stories set in other cultures (such as The Good Earth) help students understand other ways of looking at the world.
Most students find fiction easier to read than non-fiction. The best way to become a good writer is to read a wide variety of material, which usually includes copious doses of fiction.”
One book Mysterious Chills and Thrills by Laura Hickey, who’s cover has received comments such as “Good Heavens” and “What’s happening to his eye” applies “what if” situations that many can apply to their own lives. Many agree…fiction is a tasty morsel right along with non fiction books for children.