perry nodelman

[I]n much children’s literature, from nursery rhymes to young-adult fiction, order, reason, good sense, and normalcy are clearly identified with the world as constructed and legislated by adults, the world of fences and train schedules and prisons for lawbreakers. As a result, anarchy is understood to be appealing to children as a freeing defiance of adult oppression and, therefore, as essentially childlike.
—  Perry Nodelman, The Hidden Adult (282-83)
Children’s books encourage readers to consider what it means to see or think in ways usually considered to be childlike—ways defined by their relative lack of knowledge or complexity. They open a discourse about what children are, about how they are different from adults, and about the relative merits of the different qualities. And in doing so, they invite their readers, not just adults but also children, to think about what it means to be a child and what it means, therefore, to know less than older people do. In a sense they replicate the foundational situation of their writing—an adult knowing more writing for children because children know less and need to understand the implications of knowing less.
—  Perry Nodelman
The continuation of the [capitalist] system demands that everyone both produce and consume, everyone be both inside and outside and aware of oneself as both an integrated communal insider and a separate self-indulgent outsider with a mind and body of one’s own. The need to construct such a subjectivity in those who presumably do not yet possess it accounts for the existence of children’s literature – it is usually assumed to be already in operation in what people identify as literature for adults.
—  Perry Nodelman, The Hidden Adult (255)
Childhood … is inexplicable without its implied comparison to adulthood. Children can be perceived as lacking only in terms of what adults have, as simple in their thinking only in relation to more complex adult thought, and so on. Childhood is outside only in relation to adulthood as inside.
—  Perry Nodelman, The Hidden Adult (264)