Here's why stories about gifted children like 'Miss Peregrine' appeal to young viewers

A new trailer for 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children' has been released. The movie is based on the book of the same name by Ransom Riggs and is directed by Tim Burton.

A trailer has been released for the upcoming film “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.” 

“Peregrine” stars Asa Butterfield of “Ender’s Game” as Jacob, a teenager who hears stories from his grandfather about an island where children have special powers. After his grandfather dies, Jacob travels to Wales to attempt to find the place.

The film co-stars Eva Green, Allison Janney, and Samuel L. Jackson and it's directed by Tim Burton. "Peregrine" is set to come to theaters this September.

“Peregrine” is based on the young-adult book of the same name by Ransom Riggs, which was first published in 2011 and became a bestseller. The most recent book in the “Peregrine” series, “Library of Souls,” was released this past September. 

The book is often compared to the “X-Men” comics and movies and the “Harry Potter” books and films. All these stories center on children who are born with mysterious powers and who live together, often receiving training for these abilities. 

What is the appeal of these stories, particularly to young readers or moviegoers?

Douglas Martin of the New York Times wrote on the subject in 1994 when a new teenage team in the “X-Men” series called Generation X made its debut. 

“They grapple with the pain of being misunderstood outsiders, and yet they use their superpowers to rise above this prejudice, trying to save ungrateful humanity before it is too late,” Mr. Martin writes. “This, arguably, is the perfect teen-age fantasy.”

While the “X-Men” movies’ main characters are adults like superhero Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), the young students at Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, where many of the main characters work and teach, often play pivotal roles in the plot. 

The children of these stories having to go up against some kind of opponent is key as well, Lisa Cody, a manager for Baltimore’s Children’s Bookstore, told The Baltimore Sun in 2011 when discussing the "Harry Potter" series. The children at these homes or schools find companionship as well as enemies.

“It's a story about friendship and good triumphing over evil,” Ms. Cody said. “That's something all children have in common: it's comforting to them – and to adults, too.”

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