“Children’s literature is full of representations of children who aren’t ‘real’ children, children who are fakes, counterfeits, frauds of some sort. In our contemporary culture, where the child has such an angelic status in many ways, we invest so much in our children…The counterfeit child he deals with in film and literature is a stand-in, a changeling child, a fake, a fraud, an adopted child or orphan in books and movies – any child a parent did not expect to raise, Bruhm explained. The ‘counterfeit child’ is the notion children are not as innocent as they seem, and they, in fact, know more about the world than adults perceive them to.”
In stories, children tend to be presented as either miniature adults, or some sort of mentally disabled version of human beings. [Orson Scott] Card blew those tropes out of the water with children who fight, die, bond, and think, while still retaining the vestiges of childhood that render their decisions often inexplicable to adults. And that’s the key to why these characters, of Ender and Peter and Valentine, still pop off the page almost thirty years later.