There are no good books which are only for children

Rosemary Sutcliff often said that she ‘wrote books for children aged 8 to 88’.

… W.H. Auden wrote that ‘there are good books which are only for adults, because their comprehension presupposes adult experiences, but there are no good books which are only for children’. In this sense, it is natural for children’s books to become adult books if they are any good; since all adults have been children, books for and about children are always potentially for and about adults too. (Hugh Haughton)

Via: presenting… books!.

Author: Anthony Lawton

Chair, Sussex Dolphin, family company which looks after the work of eminent children’s & historical fiction author Rosemary Sutcliff (1920-92). Formerly CEO, chair & trustee of various charity, cultural & educational enterprises in UK.

3 thoughts on “There are no good books which are only for children”

  1. I like that! CS Lewis said something very similar in his essay “On three ways of writing for children” in the collection “Of this and other worlds” (edited by Walter Hooper, and published by Fount, 1984) – ‘I am almost inclined to set it up as a canon that a children’s story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children’s story. The good ones last.’


    1. Thank you Jane – this essay is complete news to me, as are all manner of things pointed out by some of you and other wonderfully knowledgeable enthusiasts for Rosemary who comment here.


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