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Children’s Literature: The Forgotten Girl


Most parents expose their children to literature from early age. They read books and tell stories to their children before letting them read independently. Any literature that children enjoy is children’s literature. Children’s literature comprises books published for young people who may not have reading skills, interest, or developmental understanding for adult literature. Different genres of children’s literature are classified based on preference, age, and perusal ability. Such genres include picture books, fantasy fiction, realistic fiction, and traditional literature. Fantasy fiction, for instance, is based on fanciful events. It contains the occult, paranormal occurrences, science fiction, animal-based fantasy, etc. On the other hand, picture books include pictures with repetitive sentences to help children read and learn. This essay reveals critical features of Children’s literature based on India Hill Brown’s book “The Forgotten Girl.

The Forgotten Girl is a paranormal fiction/ supernatural fiction. It is a fantasy fiction fit for children aged 12 -14, whose story encompasses magical elements such as ghosts, magic, werewolves, and creatures of the other world such as spirits of the dead. Iris and Daniel sneaked into the woods to play with snow on a cold winter night. “She put on her favorite grey sweatpants and purple puffer jacket over her pajamas and opened her door so slowly. She tiptoed downstairs, praying that they wouldn’t creak, that Vashti wouldn’t open her door” (Brown, 5). As Iris makes a snow angel in the woods, she finds a crumbling grave. “Strange things start happening to Iris after she discovers Avery Moore’s grave. For example, she starts having vivid nightmares. One night, she woke up and found her bedroom windows wide open letting in the snow (Brown, 18). “Her mind makes her think she sees a shadow of a girl lurking in the woods. She also feels the pull the young Moore’s gave, calling her back to the clearing” (Scott). This qualifies the book as children’s literature.

The Forgotten Girl is a “spooky original ghost story that is timely and essential” Children’s literature seeks to reclaim an abandoned cemetery. “Both Iris and her friend Daniel are obsessed with the happenings after discovering Avery Moore’s grave, and they want to figure out more by researching a school project” (Scott). Their research reveals that Avery Moore’s grave is part of the neglected and forgotten cemetery of black people, dating back to when blacks and white people lived separate lives, including death. The two friends-Iris and Daniel learn more about their town’s history and develop the desire to restore Moore’s grave and respect people buried in the cemetery (Brown, 12). Daniel did not want to research the cemetery. He preferred doing it in the library because his father had just died, and Daniel withdrew from playing basketball and talking to many friends to mourn his father.

On the other hand, Iris feels the ghost of Avery Moore is haunting her. She gets tired of the ghost haunting and asks the school club to help clean the cemetery. On the other hand, Daniel finds from his grandmother that Avery was her friend who was frozen to death by snow and that anyone no longer remembers her. However, the two awaken jealousy and the demanding ghost of Avery Moore.

The Forgotten Girl has used cover art, font size, spacing, and word length typical to children’s literature. In adult literature, cover art helps the reader contextualize and understand the message therein. The book is also broken into chapters to help kids comprehend the material. The author has used exquisite cover art that depicts a young girl who seems to be trapped in the woods, forgotten. The book’s title is also creatively written to attract children’s attention. The cover work is exciting and revealing. Children read to learn, and the reading material must help them decipher the message. Font size is therefore essential in the process. The Forgotten Girl has used a large font (18) instead of the usual (12), proofing to be purely children’s literature.

Avery Moore’s ghost is not satisfied with its plans of getting recognition because the ghost is searching for a best friend no matter the cost. Avery takes Iris to the river for swimming, only to start drowning her. Daniel saves her after his grandmother’s narration, who finds out that Iris is right about Avery. Iris and Daniel are then guided home by the warm spirit of Daniel’s dead father. Upon reaching home, Daniel and Iris discover that Iris’ sister has been kidnapped by Avery, the ghost of Avery Moore. Daniel’s grandmother helps to convince Avery to let Iris’ sister go, with the promise that they will let the whole town recognize and remember her. The two-Daniel and Iris, present their school project, picked by the school clean-up club. They clean up the cemetery as many people find their lost loved ones.

The Forgotten Girl is a fun book for children to read. It presents Avery Moore and Cecil (Daniel’s father’s spirit). Children, like adults, like being scared, ‘as long as the fear has a safety net.’ The ghosts in the book present a literary version of a roller-coaster that children trap themselves in are sent on a thrilling ride that increases their pulse, lurches, tingling fingers, and when it is over, they laugh. Daniel and Iris and the readers of the book experience mixed emotions; Fear, anger, and they learn how to deal with the real world.

One of the critical features of Children’s literature is the setting or the environment. The three principal settings of this literature are home, the library, and school. The Forgotten Girl qualifies as children’s literature because it encompasses all the three settings for children’s literature- home, school, and library. “It is an eerie, melancholy, and ultimately hopeful story about the family, forgiveness, and rectifying sins of the past” (Scott). The writer presents Iris Rose, rooted in a loving home, with her room, whose windows face the woods. Iris’ parents pay more attention to Vashti-Iris’ sister, making her feel left out (Brown, 17). She has to look for a friendship with Daniel. The two are neighbors who become friends and occasionally sneak out at night to play and create angels in the snow. Unfortunately, Daniel loses his father, who becomes a good ghost, unlike Avery Moore’s vengeful. Daniel also lives with his grandmother, who shares with him oral traditions. The friendship between Daniel and Iris continues to school (Brown,53). Iris is the only black kid in the school, and she is forgotten in many school activities and not honored even when it is due. Daniel withdraws from talking to many students and the basketball team after the loss of his father. The duo agrees to work on a school project, first in the public library and later in the segregated cemetery. The presence of the three principal elements-home, school and public library qualifies the book as children’s literature.

In conclusion, The Forgotten Girl is a typical children’s as it is educative. Apart from being paranormal, using simple language, creative and attractive, art, and observing the font size, the book is educative. One of the significant functions of Children’s literature is to educate. Children’s literature has a role in helping kids understand themselves better and their world. The book teaches children the importance of working together to find solutions to the problems that face them in their surroundings. Children assume the role of some characters to interact with others vicariously, learning the effects of personal interactions, nature, and space. The Forgotten Girl distinguishes itself in these aspects. The chilling and thrilling paranormal story present the importance of family, communal, and societal love. For instance, Daniel and Iris work hard to show love to their parents, school friends, and the community. She struggles to be recognized in a white-dominated environment and at school, where her effort in academics and curriculum activities are not recognized (Scott, n.d). The book teaches younger readers the importance of family love, how to handle painful issues, and the importance of acknowledging sins of the past so that the country can move forward.

Works Cited

Brown, I. H. (2019). The Forgotten Girl.

Scott, Jessica. “Kid Lit Book Review: The Forgotten Girl by India Hill Brown.” Spooky Kid Lit, Spooky Kid Lit, 17 Aug. 2020,


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