“Feeling Like a Kid: Childhood & Children’s Literature”

“Feeling Like a Kid: Childhood and Children’s Literature” by Jerry Griswold (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006).


This highly original book examines pleasures and sensations important during childhood and their reappearance as frequent themes in children’s literature. Surveying dozens of classic and popular works for the young (from Heidi to The Wizard of Oz, from Beatrix Potter to Harry Potter), Griswold argues that what makes great writers for children different from other kinds of writers — and what makes their work appealing to the young — is their ability to remember what it feels like to be a kid: playing under tables, shivering in bed on a scary night, arranging miniature worlds with toys, zooming around as caped superheroes, listening to dolls talk. Feeling Like a Kid identifies the ways the young think and see the world in a manner different from that of grown-ups. Lavishly illustrated, written in a lucid style by a prize-winning author and frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times, this book will be fascinating to both the specialist and general reader.


  1. Snugness
  2. Scariness
  3. Smallness
  4. Lightness
  5. Aliveness

What others have had to say

  • “Insightful and engaging work of original scholarship… so lively and so engagingly written that it will appeal to and engage the imaginations of all readers who have even a passing interest in the literature of childhood.” — Booklist
  • “Written in the crisp, bright manner of a yet-to-be-disillusioned graduate student happening upon an exciting new subject for the first time, combined with the sage irony and impeccable background of a full-fledged academic expert.”— Rain Taxi
  • “Each chapter sheds light on childhood in general; taken as a whole the book effectively contrasts how children and adults experience the world in different ways.”— Baltimore Magazine
  • “A delight both to read and to hold in one’s hand, this is a splendid book with beautiful binding, end papers, paper, cover, and typeface, and 30 illustrations reproduced in lavish color… Essential. All adult lovers and students of children’s literature.”— Choice
  • “What is striking at first sight… is the beautiful production of the book as an artifact.” — American Book Review
  • “This is one of the most beautifully produced books on children’s literature I have ever seen… it certainly raises a number of provocative issues in a delightful way. “—International Research Society for Children’s Literature
  • “Beautifully illustrated.” — Bookbird
  • “A visually sumptuous book, stunningly appointed and lovely to behold, one that is well-designed for its intended reading audience: the general public.”—Children’s Literature Association Quarterly
  • “Griswold clearly knows how to ‘feel like a kid,’ and his analysis of why certain classics have appealed to thousands of children over the years is original and convincing.”— Alison Lurie, Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist and critic
  • “Griswold is witty and wise in Feeling Like a Kid. He ranges widely over the field of children’s literature and offers telling insights.”—Beverly Lyons Clark, author of Kiddie Lit
  • http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1135137.Feeling_Like_a_Kid
  • http://www.thingsmeanalot.com/2009/05/feeling-like-kid-by-jerry-griswold.html
  • https://www.researchgate.net/publication/236721801_Feeling_Like_a_Kid_Childhood_and_Children's_Literature_review
  • https://writingonthesidewalk.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/book-thoughts-thinking-like-a-kid-by-jerry-griswold/


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