HARD-HEADED CHILDREN, EXTRATERRESTRIAL ADOLESCENTS, AND CHERRY - TREE GRANDPARENTS: A METAPHORICAL VOYAGE THROUGH THE CHILDHOODS OF SOME CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN AUTHORS OF CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
this contribution retraces the subjects of some novels by contemporary Italian writers of children’s literature. the novels were chosen amongst those that seem to best represent “good literature” that is able to build critical and creative readers and that is inclined to shape its own depiction of reality and to move in a utopian way towards the research. It is a literature that teaches children how to face life’s problems and find the right key to change the world in a democratic direction. the model of “nonconformist” literature to which this contribution refers looks at the epistemological model of Gianni Rodari and the fantastic creativity he uses to tell children about reality without restriction or censure. Rodari’s model has been recovered by many contemporary children’s literature writers, such as Donatella ziliotto, Angela Nanetti, Bianca Pitzorno and Giusy Quarenghi. these authors are taken into account within this article for their ability to see literature as a tool for growth and a support for a child’s identity construction, with particular regard to gender identity, which today is still the focus of stereotypes and cultural conditioning that often weaken the development of children, negating their need to freely respond to their personal attitudes. A fundamental role in a child’s growth is played by grandparents, to whom some of these novels are addressed, as mediators amongst different generations and who are able to support children and young adults in the process of reconstructing their past and planning their future.