?

Is it okay for adults to die in middle grade fiction?

Poll closed Nov 24, 2020.
  1. No

    50.0%
  2. Yes

    50.0%
  1. StoryWeaver

    StoryWeaver Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    The Frozen Frontier

    Middle Grade fiction -- can adult characters die?

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by StoryWeaver, Oct 25, 2020.

    Writing a middle grade (mg) fantasy/scifi time travel novel. Is it okay to have an adult character or two die, or is that something publishers do not want to see in a MG novel?
     
  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Messages:
    9,456
    Likes Received:
    16,565
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    Well, the parents of giant peach James were eaten by a rhinoceros on page one, so there's that.
     
    evild4ve and Steerpike like this.
  3. StoryWeaver

    StoryWeaver Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    The Frozen Frontier
    Are there other examples of adults dying in MG fiction? I think at least in the movie, adults died during the major battle scene in The Golden Compass?
     
  4. CrimsonAngel

    CrimsonAngel Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2016
    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    146
    I don't think it is ok, I am re-writing a MG Fantasy novel so it has to be kid friendly.
     
  5. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Messages:
    9,456
    Likes Received:
    16,565
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    I read a bunch of WW2 and Holocaust middle grade novels when I was a middle grade lad. There were adults and kids dying in droves. Kids aren't immune to death. The quicker they learn reality the better.
     
  6. HulkingElf

    HulkingElf Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2020
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    32
    just look as stuff like inside out, they literally have an on screen character death, in bing bong. but if your asking about ways to do it without it being gruesome you can have it be implied or off screan. like the base is self destructing (scifi) and they have to defeat the villain and they knock them off the platform and escape then the base explodes at last second, obviously killing the bad guy. or something simialar like fighting near a large cliff or in a space ship and the villain falls off or gets sucked out into open space. ways to kill them but not traumatize the young reader.
     
  7. Lazaares

    Lazaares Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2020
    Messages:
    495
    Likes Received:
    609
    Location:
    Europe
    This here. The most famous MG (classic) literature piece from Hungary features the main character dying in pneumonia and slews of nationalistic imagery (and critique). It's compulsory literature in grade 5 - which I think by definition makes it a MG book.

    That, and the fairy tales my grandparents used to tell me + the folk tales on television. They included death in all forms; there is one in specific that featured the beloved of a soldier beaten to death by her abusive mother, only to be chased to the "afterlife" by the soldier so that they can be together again (and on the way he kills the mother who is revealed a witch). Whether you accept the Grimm tales and their various adaptations as "children's literature", they still are pretty ... well, grim.

    You are right, however, that I feel like modern publishing / pieces seek to avoid or dance around the topic. I don't think that is reasonable or justified and I do not know how much this can affect publishing per se.
     
  8. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    13,412
    Likes Received:
    7,993
    Location:
    California, US
    Adults and children can die in MG novels. There are a lot of misconceptions around not being able to deal with certain subject matter in children’s literature.
     
  9. Le Panda Du Mal

    Le Panda Du Mal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2020
    Messages:
    257
    Likes Received:
    269
    The answer is yes and there are quite a few commonly read MG books where the body count is quite high or atrocities are in the background if not center stage. Off the top of my head, Number the Stars, Avi's Crispin books, Narnia.
     
  10. Le Panda Du Mal

    Le Panda Du Mal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2020
    Messages:
    257
    Likes Received:
    269
    Also Brian Jacques' Redwalls books. Yes, they're about talking animals, but this seems to give Jacques license to revel in buckets of gore. I think the books are bad for a number of reasons but they certainly sold.
     
  11. Krash

    Krash New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2021
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Strong Badia
    And another thing too, most kids in the middle-grade age range usually have grasped and can handle the concept of death.
    I don't get why people think that death is a topic kids need to be sheltered from. It happens to every living thing.
     
    Steve Rivers likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice