Children’s books are a great way to introduce new ideas and concepts to children. Children’s literature can cover a wide age range, from soft books for newborns to early novels for nine and ten year olds. Although most children’s books feature lighthearted and adventurous themes, some books do contain very serious and adult topics that help to introduce children to the graver aspects of life. Although many of these topics are difficult to discuss and sad, they can be conveyed as basic plot points in many books without becoming too overwhelming. Despite what many adults believe, most children can handle reading books with more adult storylines and many children actually enjoy these true-to-life tales immensely.
Technically, it is possible to discuss even serious topics like death in books for little kids. There are several picture books that help younger children deal with grief and loss in an age-appropriate way. When children start to get older (around 8-12), they are capable of reading on their own. Around the mid-grade school, children should start being introduced to beginner’s novels and Young Adult fiction. Many of these books—like “Missing May”—do deal with real life topics that can be quite dramatic but they are also excellent examples of literature and have storylines that will enthrall young readers.
Below is a list of five serious themes that can be found in fiction for youngsters.