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Many children learn from a very young age about the importance of always telling the truth. They also learn that telling lies is necessary if they are to survive in a world that paradoxically values the truth but practises deception. Secrets, Lies and Children's Fiction demonstrates how this paradox is played out in texts for children and young adults, how secrets and lies may be a necessary means for survival and adaptation, and how mendacity may have its virtues. Kerry Mallan examines a wide selection of international texts, spanning several decades, including picture books, novels, and films. By drawing on diverse fields of scholarship, Mallan makes important connections between children's literature, philosophical and moral complexities, and cultural and social tensions. Secrets, Lies and Children's Fiction provokes thinking about what passes as 'the truth', the consequences of truth telling and lying, and the sacrificial arbitrariness of scapegoating.