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No Kids Allowed

Children's Literature for Adults

Michelle Ann Abate

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Children's literature isn't just for children anymore. This original study explores the varied forms and roles of children's literature—when it's written for adults.

What do Adam Mansbach's Go the F**k to Sleep and Barbara Park's MA! There's Nothing to Do Here! have in common? These large-format picture books are decidedly intended for parents rather than children. In No Kids Allowed, Michelle Ann Abate examines a constellation of books that form a paradoxical new genre: children's literature for adults. Distinguishing these books from YA and middle-grade fiction that appeals to adult readers…

Children's literature isn't just for children anymore. This original study explores the varied forms and roles of children's literature—when it's written for adults.

What do Adam Mansbach's Go the F**k to Sleep and Barbara Park's MA! There's Nothing to Do Here! have in common? These large-format picture books are decidedly intended for parents rather than children. In No Kids Allowed, Michelle Ann Abate examines a constellation of books that form a paradoxical new genre: children's literature for adults. Distinguishing these books from YA and middle-grade fiction that appeals to adult readers, Abate argues that there is something unique about this phenomenon. Principally defined by its form and audience, children's literature, Abate demonstrates, engages with more than mere nostalgia when recast for grown-up readers. Abate examines how board books, coloring books, bedtime stories, and series detective fiction written and published specifically for adults question the boundaries of genre and challenge the assumption that adulthood and childhood are mutually exclusive.

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No Kids Allowed

Michelle Ann Abate

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Reviews

Reviews

In lucid prose punctuated with wit, Abate explores how these books reflect significant changes in our cultural conceptions of childhood and adulthood.

Insightful and well-written, No Kids Allowed is a highly enjoyable read. Abate rightly differentiates 'children's literature for adults' from texts for young readers that, like the Harry Potter books, also appeal to adults.

No Kids Allowed is a provocative opening move in an academic discussion that is surprisingly unexplored.

No Kids Allowed will make a substantive contribution to the field of children's literature. It promises to be of interest to a broader audience of people invested in and curious about children's books or, specifically, children's books that are created for adult audiences.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
248
ISBN
9781421438863
Illustration Description
16 b&w photos
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction. A Is for Adult: Coloring Books, Bedtime Stories, and Picture Books for Grown-Ups
1. "A Book for Obsolete Children": Dr. Seuss' You're Only Old Once! and the Rise of

Acknowledgments
Introduction. A Is for Adult: Coloring Books, Bedtime Stories, and Picture Books for Grown-Ups
1. "A Book for Obsolete Children": Dr. Seuss' You're Only Old Once! and the Rise of Children's Literature for Adults
2. Off to Camp: Mabel Maney's The Case of the Not-So-Nice Nurse, the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, and Fanfiction
3. Material Matters: Art Spiegelman's In the Shadow of No Towers as a Board Book
4. Baby Talk: Barbara Park's MA! There's Nothing to Do Here!, Fetal Personhood, and Child Authorship
5. Learning Left from Right: Goodnight Bush, Don't Let the Republican Drive the Bus!, and the Broadside Tradition
6. Not Kidding Around: Go the F**k to Sleep and the New Adult Honesty about Parenthood
Conclusion. Both Radical and Reinforcing: The Complicated Cultural Significance of Children's Literature for Adults
Notes
Works Cited
Index

Author Bio
Michelle Ann Abate
Featured Contributor

Michelle Ann Abate

Michelle Ann Abate is a professor of literature for children and young adults at The Ohio State University. She is the author of five books, including Tomboys: A Literary and Cultural History, Bloody Murder: The Homicide Tradition in Children's Literature, and Funny Girls: Guffaws, Guts, and Gender in Classic American Comics.