It all began with a book my mom and dad made me when I was a baby. Titled God Loves Me, the book was illustrated with pictures of animals and scenes in nature, and chronicled all the ways in which I was loved.
I've been hooked on books since.
And while my tastes have grown and changed throughout the years, I still have an appetite for Children's Lit. By Children's Lit., I mean everything from Dr. Seuss to J.K. Rowling - the whole spectrum of literature aimed at readers 16 and younger.
If you've relegated yourself to the confines of an adult imagination writing from an adult perspective, halt. Cease. Drop whatever boring nonfiction or cheap thriller you've got your nose in, and let me give you 5 reasons why you should pick up a YA novel, or revisit a favorite childhood author:
1. Leave your boring adult life for a while
It's easy to get entrenched in the day-to-day adulting that we all have to go through to keep a roof over our head, pay bills, and feed ourselves. Easier still is the inclination to escape these day-to-day obligations by sitting ourselves in front of the telly for an evening of binge streaming something on Netflix. Instead, pick up Dave at Night, or George's Marvelous Medicine, and get wrapped up in fictional worlds that are unlike your own; I'll think you'll find this means of escapism addicting.
2. Challenging the status quo
In addition to getting entrenched in our daily routines, the older we get, the easier it is to cement ourselves into certain ways of thinking, behaving, and interacting with the world around us. YA & Children's Lit. challenges the status quo, and urges us to see, feel and think from differing perspectives; perspectives that still hold a bit of child-like wonder and compassion. Fat Angie, or, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian come to mind.
3. Uncomplicating the complicated
I have immense respect for authors of YA & Children's lit. In my mind, these authors have a superhuman capability of taking complicated concepts, like race, class, or gender, and presenting them in a way that is palatable, and understandable. Think of how the Hunger Games series got all of us thinking about the parallels between capitalism and bodies that simultaneously seemed unfathomable and yet very possibly 'real.'
4. Instant gratification
If you struggle to get through a book, give yourself the gift of reading a YA & Children's Lit. text for the instant gratification of actually being able to finish a book in one or two sittings. Truly, I struggle to come up with a comparable feeling to what it used to feel like when a new Harry Potter series would come out, and I would finish it within the same day of purchasing it.
5. Frankly my dear, it's just more fun
It should be clear from reasons 1-4, but Children's Lit. is simply more fun than that self-help book you're reading, or that one suspense thriller that left you desiring more; Children's Lit. is fun, it's playful, and it doesn't take itself too seriously. And those traits are contagious to the reader, I should mention. You will be more fun to talk to, interact with, date, dine with, if you keep your appetite for Children's Lit. alive.
So go visit your local library and tuck in.