Many books for children are about young characters. However, older characters are also often featured in stories for children, and characters’ ages can change throughout certain books. By reading such stories, children find out about ideas regarding age via books. Stereotypes such as the ‘old witch’, or the ‘wise old mentor’ spark ideas that old women are mean, or that old people are wiser than younger people. There are, however, just as well books that have the intention of distancing themselves from entrenched ideas. More and more attention is being given to intergenerational dialogue and a nuanced view of old age. Research on age in books and the ways in which readers deal with such images can show how children’s literature contributes to ideas on age.
Joosen, Vanessa. ‘Aging in children’s literature’.
Eds. Gu, D. & M.E. Dupre. Encyclopedia of gerontology and population aging. Cham, Springer, 2019. p. 1-5.