Evil in Children’s Books

“Top 10 ways to be evil in children’s books” by William Sutcliffe

The Guardian, 17 May 2015


“When writing for adults, every character, however malevolent, has to have a nuanced motivation behind the choices they make. Only when writing for children can you give full rein to pure, unadulterated wickedness. Children’s literature is filled with preposterously nasty people who are motivated by greed, sadism, vengeance and hatred.” Think Cruella De Vil.

Sutcliffe, an author and the writer of this article, points out that children’s books often contain kidnapping, hatred, death, being eaten by animals… And let me point out that there have been many analyses that say it’s good for children to read this kind of thing, it helps them deal with their own fears. (We’re talking about early readers, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult — not necessarily picture books for very young children.)


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