Writers, not caterers

The thing about children’s books is that there’s so much more to them than boy wizards: James Gunn, veteran SF junkie, is campaigning for more, and better, catch-em-young SF reading that can move beyond Star Wars and Star Trek.

“There’s a saying that the ‘golden age’ of science fiction is 12,” he said. “That’s a time in children’s lives when their imaginations get a chance to catch fire and get stimulated, and if you miss that time, you may never get them to think about … issues, concepts, ideas, possibilities, in a way that enhances their understanding of the world we live in.”
Gunn and McKitterick, at the urging of science fiction scholars and authors, are going on the offensive to make science fiction more attractive to young readers.”

What should children read? Ask Ursula K Le Guin:

I made a note to myself a while ago: “Whenever they tell me children want this sort of book and children need this sort of writing, I am going to smile politely and shut my earlids. I am a writer, not a caterer. There are plenty of caterers. But what children most want and need is what we and they don’t know they want and don’t think they need, and only writers can offer it to them.”


  1. how and why should children be streamlined into reading SF ? would a SF stimulate a mind more than a fantasy story of faraway tree is capable of ? I am curious because I grew up reading non-SF but that hasn’t seemed to stunt my mind for scientific studies.

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