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No Kids Allowed

'No Kids Allowed' cover image

No Kids Allowed

Children's Literature for Adults

Children's literature isn't just for children anymore. This original study explores the varied forms and roles of children's literature—when it's written for adults.

What do Adam Mansbach's Go the F**k to Sleep and Barbara Park's MA! There's Nothing to Do Here! have in common? These large-format picture books are decidedly intended for parents rather than children. In No Kids Allowed, Michelle Ann Abate examines a constellation of books that form a paradoxical new genre: children's literature for adults. Distinguishing these books from YA and middle-grade fiction that appeals to adult readers, Abate argues that there is something unique about this phenomenon. Principally defined by its form and audience, children's literature, Abate demonstrates, engages with more than mere nostalgia when recast for grown-up readers. Abate examines how board books, coloring books, bedtime stories, and series detective fiction written and published specifically for adults question the boundaries of genre and challenge the assumption that adulthood and childhood are mutually exclusive.