Flights of Fancy, Leaps of Faith: Children's Myths in Contemporary America

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9780226107776: Flights of Fancy, Leaps of Faith: Children's Myths in Contemporary America
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Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy—is there still a place for these imaginary creatures in today's skeptical society? More importantly, is it appropriate to encourage children to believe in these myths? In Flights of Fancy, Leaps of Faith, Cindy Dell Clark went straight to children and their parents for the answers. Using their insights, she offers fresh, new interpretations of the cultural and psychological roles these figures play in children's lives. Complete with children's vivid testimonies and colorful illustrations, this book is a revealing journey into a child's mind and world.

"A very enjoyable read, this book is a seriously researched record of children's myths, written with the observant accuracy of an anthropologist."—Nadja Reissland, Common Knowledge

"Clark posits some novel interpretations as well as intriguing glimpses for parents, teachers, and psychologists into the ways children shape our culture rather than merely being passive inheritors of it."—Booklist

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About the Author:

Cindy Dell Clark is an adjunct faculty member in the Marketing Department at DePaul University.

From Booklist:

What do the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny really mean to children? Clark interviewed 133 children and 72 moms to find out. She learned that, like Coleridge's leap of poetic faith, children willingly suspend disbelief when investing in "imaginal" experiences. In fact, they take an admirable leap of faith to create myths and rituals different from those constructed by adults. A visit from the Tooth Fairy represents a rite of passage out of childhood, an enabling, reassuring ritual. Santa and company offer a smorgasbord of myths from which children can choose and on which all do not agree; some accept the existence of old Rudolph and some do not. Adults experience vicarious wonder from participation in Christmas myths by observing children, for whom the magical is second nature. Easter is the quintessential child-centered holiday when adults sit back and allow children to determine the egg-coloring, Easter Bunny visiting rituals in an effort to connect with nature, growth, and rebirth. Clark posits some novel interpretations as well as intriguing glimpses for parents, teachers, and psychologists into the ways children shape our culture rather than merely being passive inheritors of it. Patricia Hassler

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9780226107783: Flights of Fancy, Leaps of Faith: Children's Myths in Contemporary America

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ISBN 10:  0226107787 ISBN 13:  9780226107783
Publisher: University of Chicago Press, 1998
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