As a comic writer for children and starting my Master’s course soon after the long decline and death of my mother with Alzheimer’s, perhaps it was unsurprising that the topic I chose to research was how humour helps children cope with seriously unfunny issues in their lives, particularly in the work of Morris Gleitzman.

Laughter is important at any age, but how much more can it offer the child reader, already so less empowered to deal with the big stuff than we are, to have that someone between the pages, calling them in and making them laugh about the things that worry them, thereby shrinking those problems and offering the child the sense that they can master their fears, too?

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