Depictions of Children's Street Culture in Fiction and Nonfiction
September 3, 2013 7:17 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend fiction and nonfiction novels which depict folklore and mythology created by children who are free of adult supervision and authority.

I'm interested in novels which depict cultures, ideas and preconceptions that children have created as coping mechanisms, or merely to help them understand the world around them -- when adults are either minimally present in their lives, or not in the picture at all.

The 1997 essay "Myths over Miami" is a good example of what I'm referring to happening in real life, but I'm more interested in reading fiction and non-fiction books that incorporate the same concept.

Thanks in advance!
posted by zarq to Grab Bag (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Lord of the Flies
posted by Ideefixe at 7:22 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke qualifies, I think.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 7:23 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Lord of the Flies is exactly what you're looking for.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 7:27 AM on September 3, 2013

The sublime madness that is The Wasp Factory by the late Iain Banks.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:40 AM on September 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Not a novel, but "Mad Max:Beyond Thunderdome" includes a village of children and teenagers who survived a plane crash in the desert during the apocalypse. They piece together their own mythology about the crash, the pilot, why they are there and the pilot's eventual return.

It also has Tina Turner in chain mail. Just sayin'.
posted by DWRoelands at 7:44 AM on September 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

How about The Maze Runner?
posted by lyssabee at 8:29 AM on September 3, 2013

Peter Pan?
posted by elizardbits at 8:48 AM on September 3, 2013

The Cement Garden.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 8:48 AM on September 3, 2013

Our Mother's House by Julian Gloag is a bit like that, although the children's fundamentalist ideology is adapted from their late mother's.
posted by BibiRose at 9:36 AM on September 3, 2013

Oliver Twist. Pinocchio.
posted by CathyG at 11:28 AM on September 3, 2013

The first few chapters of The Golden Compass.
posted by zeri at 1:59 PM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Bloody Mary and the Blue Lady--
during their brief stays in the shelters, homeless children can meet and tell each other stories that get them through the harshest nights.

Folktales are usually an inheritance from family or homeland. But what if you are a child enduring a continual, grueling, dangerous journey? No adult can steel such a child against the outcast's fate: the endless slurs and snubs, the threats, the fear. What these determined children do is snatch dark and bright fragments of Halloween fables, TV news, and candy-colored Bible-story leaflets from street-corner preachers, and like birds building a nest from scraps, weave their own myths. The "secret stories" are carefully guarded knowledge, never shared with older siblings or parents for fear of being ridiculed.
posted by ohshenandoah at 4:25 PM on September 3, 2013

As trashy as it is, "Flowers in the Attic" fits the bill.

The movie HEAVENLY CREATURES has an amazing section about the girls' adult-free fantasy world.

Tonal fit, two more distant things:
I always loved the rabbit-invented mythology in "Watership Down."

An amazing book about medieval religion that pops up within the peasants when priests aren't around is "The Cheese and the Worms."
posted by Gucky at 7:04 PM on September 3, 2013

Jorge Amado's Captain of the Sands is an excellent story.
posted by msali at 9:10 PM on September 3, 2013

The Egypt Game
posted by book 'em dano at 9:27 PM on September 3, 2013

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