Law and Literature Junior: Lawyers in Books for Young Children
Whittier Journal of Child & Family Advocacy, Vol. 11, p. 39, 2012
45 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2012
Date Written: April 4, 2012
Are children’s perceptions of lawyers an open book? The genre of law and literature has demonstrated the power that popular texts hold in shaping societal perceptions of law, but little attention has been given to little readers. This Article explores the perspectives children have of lawyers and how books for young children may reflect or affect those perspectives. A unique collaboration between a law professor and a children’s librarian, this Article reviews a variety of books intended for preschool and early elementary readers. Several themes and narratives emerge from these texts, telling stories of lawyers as historical heroes or workaday joes. The books promote ideals – realistic or unrealistic – relating to the transience of legal practice, the motivation and character of lawyers, and the diversity of the legal profession. The relative absence of relatable fictional lawyers in books for young children is also notable. Outside of books, the relationships between lawyers and children are too often less than positive. Lending greater attention to the books that shape perspectives of lawyers may foster happier endings to these real-life stories.
Keywords: law and literature, children, juvenile, minor
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