Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Never Grow Up: Five Reasons to Keep Reading Children's Books

At some point a lot of people probably convinced you that you had to read something "your age."  It probably started in grade school when you went to the library and picked up a book you wanted to read and your teacher said you needed to pick something "on grade level," or "on your reading level." Maybe someone told you that you needed to read something "more challenging." Maybe it just came in the form of praise for reading ahead of grade level, but at some point the message became clear- those thin bright volumes with the whimsical and enchanting pictures? Those are for babies.

Well, here are five good reasons to keep reading children's books.

1. They are good. Seriously good reading lives in the children's section, all the way from picture books to chapter books. Well written and thought provoking work, despite it's brevity.

2. Whimsy. We all need more of it, and there's short supply once you venture out of the children's section, with the possible exception of Jasper Fforde.

3. The morals and lessons still apply. Just because we all got taller and had to learn to balance our check books and hold down a job or keep our schedules straight, that doesn't mean that we can't use a solid reminder about how to make friends, and that it's okay to cry when our bird dies. Books aimed at kids cut through the drama to the heart of the message in clear and accessible terms- yes, going home when you're sad can help. Yes, accepting who you are is so much better than trying to be who you aren't. It's okay to have a day when you need to go Where the Wild Things Are, and sometimes an unexpected and potentially terrifying upheaval can lead to a wonderful adventure and meeting new friends.

4. Art. It's great to have the images in your own head, but enjoying the wonderfully colorful and detailed artwork of another human is like a glimpse into another world, and like taking a breezy stroll through someone else's garden. I highly recommend it. Some books beg to be enjoyed strictly for the art.

5. Nostalgia. There's something heartening in enjoying a book you loved as a child, and you shouldn't have to have or borrow a child in order to do it.

So, feel free to enjoy the children's section to your heart's content. There's good work in there just waiting for you.

Check out some of the Children's books I've reviewed on Biblivoracious here and here.

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