Should children be shocked into reality? I like happy endings. I read books and watch films that will give me that feel-good smile at the end, and I certainly hope to find that in children's films and books. However, I've seen quite a few films lately where one of the characters dies and it doesn't add anything to the story. It merely catches the older audience by surprise, who then fights to hide the tears before the puzzled younger audience starts asking what has happened and why is everyone crying.
I grew up reading and listening to fairy tales and books where all endings were happy. Maybe this has influenced in my optimistic approach to life or maybe optimism is just part of each person's nature. But all these happy endings and the belief in one's own happy ending hasn't prevented me from facing harsh realities when they've hit me in the face. In fact, it's probably helped me to overcome them.
I don't write children's books so I'm unaware if children's authors are required to know some basics on education or psychology, but I imagine they have to bear in mind the impact their stories can have on a child. I understand the need to make children aware of social issues, but is it really that awful to keep them in a bubble of fantasy during the time they read a book or watch a film? Will these realist portraits of life and social issues bring up new generations with a highly developed social conscience and mentally prepared for death?