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Literature for children and teens today
Of refugees, racism, and poverty

Sensitive topics in current literature for children and teens.

© "Allmende" No. 109/2021, mitteldeutscher verlag

Texts for children and teens are constantly evolving. Not only do they pick up new topics, but also offer variations of traditional and current political and social debates while also upholding literary and aesthetic standards. A rich variety of approximately 8,000 annual new publications make the children’s and teenage segment an important section of the book market, introducing young readers to the world of literature. This paper will outline developments and possible changes in this segment using a selection of examples.[1] We chose to analyze realistic children’s and teenage literature, which can also be considered a sort of diagnostic of our times, as these books pick up current debates, for example in their depiction of interculturality, current events (such as war and refugee crises), gender, and heterogeneous notions of what constitutes family or childhood. We will not be looking at children’s and teenage fantasy literature, and a glance at new publications in that segment leads us to assume that realistic children’s and teenage novels are experiencing a comeback. New publications of the past five years, but also awards and nominations for accolades such as the “Book of the Month” by the German Academy for Children’s and Teenage Literature, the “Top Seven” list, or the German Youth Literature Prize, show that current children’s and teenage literature is socially critical, political, and advocating community.

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[1] Excluded poetry, theater, and non-fiction in order to keep the scope of this paper manageable.

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