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Children’s Literature Author Claudia Mills Speaks on Didacticism

Published on September 24, 2015

Children’s Literature Author Claudia Mills Speaks on Didacticism

Claudia Mills, former philosophy professor and author of over 50 children’s books, spoke at Eastern Connecticut State University on Sept. 23. Her lecture centered on how to effectively instruct, inform and inspire children through literature, or what she called “the dilemma of didacticism.”

Mills focused on how to create engaging, interesting pieces of literature that also teach children valuable lessons and improve their understanding of the human experience. She explained that there are many who argue against didacticism in books, as they claim it makes for lower quality stories that children don’t like to read but Mills dispelled this misconception by comparing and contrasting good examples of didactic books versus bad ones.

She also explained that children’s stories often play an important role in forcing children to engage with relevant moral or philosophical issues. “These books can force children to see how certain issues can affect the human condition both positively and negatively,” Mills said. “The world is full of issues and very few of them are black and white. Watching characters come to important conclusions right in front of you can make morals in stories so powerful for readers.”

She also emphasized how difficult it can be to create quality literature that also tackles complex philosophical issues. Children’s stories often contain examples of characters coming to conclusions that ultimately alter their world view and play a vital role in shaping their character. She went on to explain that these epiphanies are often a result of ignoring whatever wisdom or value you think you should instill in the child, and focusing on what you wish was instilled in you. “A moral has to be rich enough to resonate with adults too,” said Mills. “We can’t be afraid to share our most deeply-rooted truths with children.”

Written by Ryan King

Categories: English