Writing about loss

Some of my middle grade reading lately has gotten me to thinking about the question of … why do we so often write about loss when we write for children? (And not only in stories where the beloved pet dies — in other ways, as well.)

I do it, too — I can’t think of a book where I haven’t done it in one way or another, though in Secret it’s pretty subtle and not really the main point — so I don’t think we should stop doing it. But I do find myself wondering: do we write about loss because it’s a part of young lives, and so relevant to young readers? Or do we write about loss because it’s part of adult lives, and so relevant to us–are we projecting our own concerns onto our readers?

Or is that an impossible distinction to make, because children’s lives and adult lives exist in the same larger world, after all, and we can’t tease them apart or pretend they exist in isolation from one another?

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