Letter: Books that have left a middle-class ghetto

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The Independent Online
Sir: Whatever happened to children's literature? This is the question posed by Christina Hardyment (Books, 16 July). My answer is that it has long since broken out of its white, middle-class ghetto. This may be much to Ms Hardyment's chagrin, but it is a fact, and there is no going back.

To justify her nostalgic yeanring for the days when 'issues' were driven from the pages of children's books and we all basked in Blytonesque jolliness, Ms Hardyment quotes some dubious statistics. No, we are not all middle-class now, nor is the real Britain a happy, employed and stable place where John Major is at ease with his voters.

Poverty, racism and violence haunt the country, and children's books must reflect that.

Yours faithfully,



The writer's latest book is 'Chicken' (Orion Children's Books).