One of the cool things about reading fiction in particular is the way it causes the reader to shed their own identity in order to relate to the characters. It’s a way of learning to see life from different perspectives—even perspectives we may not agree with—and to reevaluate our own preconceptions even after we’ve shut the book and are going about the rest of our day.
I think children’s literature does this better than any other type of fiction. I get particularly aggravated with the Adult Fiction section of my library because it seems like the inside blurbs are all variations on only a couple themes. The thriller books with rough, practically unlikable protagonists, the “artsy” books with characters that seem permanently depressed, or historical fiction where the characters and plot are so bland it gives history itself a bad rap.
But here is an example of how a children’s story can make us relate to something or someone we normally wouldn’t even think about as having a perspective at all: A Cricket in Times Square. Exactly. A cricket. Those annoying, icky, pests that keep you up at night or don’t know when to keep quiet during an awkward silence. This is the protagonist of not one, but several books by George Selden.