That Powerful Kind of Ache

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Why do we love a sad protagonist? I first noticed how tragic the characters in children's literature were when I began reading to my firstborn. So many orphans! Cinderella, The Little Princess, James and the Giant Peach, Harry Potter. Readers feel great compassion for these characters as they struggle through a cruel world. They grow and believe in love, and find it at last. Sometimes I would have hard conversations with my son as he…