What Can Children’s Literature and Games Tell Us about Today’s Children?
The present article treats changes in the learning conditions of today’s children as a deepening of the “childhood crisis.” We believe that new research in the field of developmental psychology is needed 15 in order to apply cultural-historical theory to new data. The article presents two studies: the first considers a preschool game based on contemporary cartoon plots, and the second considers how adolescents (eighth- to tenth-graders) read J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. The preschool study shows that the game has 20 developmental potential and that its plots reproduce complex human relations. The Harry Potter study shows that adolescents are attracted to hero stories with ambiguous and unknown outcomes. On the basis of these findings, we conclude that contemporary cultural texts for children imply a sophisticated audience who interacts nondidactically with the text, and that these texts have developmental potential and should be included in the curriculum.