Last week, The Atlantic came out with a very attention-grabbing article titled, “Why the British Tell Better Children’s Stories Than Americans” written by Colleen Gillard. Gillard explains that British “…history informs fantastical myths and legends, while American tales tend to focus on moral realism.” This is an intriguing concept that immediately had me reading further.
The stories of Harry Potter and Huckleberry Finn are both brought up, each representing their respective countries of origination. One side focuses on imagination while the other focuses on realistic settings of everyday life. Gillard brings up the idea that American fantasies differ from British ones because of these themes of realism and lessons learned.
Throughout the article Gillard goes on to explain how history and religion have shaped storytelling in each country and how fantasy is proven to be an important factor in childhood development. The article closes by mentioning recently popular American fantasy novels including The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner. Each of these stories is part of a new trend of fantasy filled with dark twists.
As an American, I have to say that I’m jealous of these British childhood stories filled with fantasy. On the other hand though, I was exposed to Harry Potter and other British children’s books at an early age (thanks mom!) so I can’t say I missed out much.
To read more, here’s a link to the article: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/01/why-the-british-tell-better-childrens-stories/422859/