The Atlantic has a great read about Kids Lit by Colleen Gillard. It examines the origins and influences of British and American culture on the kid lit produced in each country. I need to read it again to clarify a few questions I have, but it’s a fascinating piece for any kids lit folks.
It does touch on one issue that bugs me with tales like Harry Potter. Harry is wonderful and meaningful and important – BECAUSE of who his parents were. That bugs me to no end. Sure he’s nice and fights for good, but his importance comes from his bloodline. That’s certainly ingrained in a culture where your King and Queen are who they are – only because of who their fathers and mothers were. I’d call it the aristocratic solution to the issue of why a main character is important. they are BECAUSE they were MEANT to be. I much prefer the notion that anyone can and will make a difference no matter what station of life they come from.