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Why I'm looking forward to seeing Tracy Beaker as a grown-up single mum

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In very exciting news, Jacqueline Wilson announced last week that she was revisiting her famous character, Tracy Beaker, a staple of all our childhoods, as a grown up with a daughter of her own. Whilst there can be doubts about authors revisiting their child characters as adults, with some feeling that fictional children should remain that way forever, personally, I'm really excited about getting to see Tracy Beaker as a grownup single mum.

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I can certainly understand the hesistancy. Seeing child characters as grownups is not always something that has gone well, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child is a prime example of that. The most recent outing of Harry Potter with our favourite characters as grownups went down like a sour pill for most fans (although apparently seeing the story on stage as it was meant to be, is much better, and personally, I didn't mind The Cursed Child). We have a certain nostalgia attached to the characters we loved in our childhoods and I think because of that, we want them to remain as we remember them forever. We don't want them to have to face the same difficulties and struggles that we have growing up, we don't want them to change. We would rather make up our own endings to their stories.

However for me, I am nosy. I want to know what my favourite authors envision for their characters after their stories are over. Sure I can make up stories for myself, but if there's a chance that I get to see where my favourite authors think their characters are going to be as grown-ups then I'm surely going to take it!

In the specific case of Tracy Beaker, I think seeing her as a parent will be really interesting, because obviously she never really had a parental role model growing up, so it will be interesting to see how she approaches that role with her own daughter. There is such a dearth of working class characters in children's (and teen) fiction, and Jacqueline Wilson has always shone a light on that particular underrepresented group, so it will be great to see a new generation of children discovering Tracy Beaker for the first time. 

I think Tracy's adult story will be something that every twenty or nearly thirty something can relate to, I mean living on a low income job in London? That's the reality for a lot of young people right now and I'm sure those people, many of whom may have been Tracy Beaker fans in their youths, will appreciate Wilson's new book, and seeing a character of their age, living in their city, struggling just like they are. 

Authors revisiting their child characters decades later, when those who read them when they were first published may now have children of their own, also means that reading can bridge a generation gap, as those who read the book when it was first published will want to share their favourite childhood characters with their own children. 

Not all authors may want to, or feel that it's right to revisit their child characters as adults and that's fine. However, Jacqueline Wilson clearly feels that there is more to tell in Tracy's story and there's nothing wrong with that.

There seems to be a misconception that the end of childhood means the end of adventures for fictional characters, and that growing up has to be the end of their stories. However how does that make any sense? Being a child isn't the end of anyone's story, it's the beginning, you have a whole lifetime of adventures ahead of you as a child. And if authors want to explore those adventures, then more power to them, I think it's great. Growing up is hard, and quite frankly, I could use a dose of nostalgia from my favourite child characters. I know I will be getting my hands on Tracy Beaker's new story when it comes out and I hope you guys do too!

 




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