I LOVE children’s books. I love them. When I lived in Lincoln Park, in Chicago, my roommate and I had our own children’s section, just for all the kid’s books we bought from Open Books. There were a lot of them. I love them for their complexity that’s meshed so well with simplicity. Every book teaches something valuable and often it indoctrinates kids when their young to think differently about life. THat can be dangerous, but I think that’s what makes it cool to read them when you’re older. You can look at them and say, “OH! That’s what they were saying there…huh.”
Some of my favorite children’s book series are The Berenstein Bears, Nate the Great, Encyclopedia Brown, The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Olivia (the adorable sassy piglet), Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, Frog and Toad, Winnie the Pooh, and anything by Dr. Seuss. I LOVE Dr. Seuss.
The book that influenced me the most in my young adult life was Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. It was my go-to book when I was happy or sad or just wanted to read something good. I think I read it more than 20 times in junior high alone. It was a book that spoke to my soul and swept me away. I still love it, and her other works as well. The Two Princesses in Bamarre has a special place in my heart because it was the first book that I read aloud to my little book club in college. We had a blast with it.
I am of the opinion that YA literature has gotten to be a little bit insane in recent years. So many adults read it and that’s not bad. I love YA too. Rick Riordan is a hero of mine and I just rediscovered John Green and found that I can appreciate him a lot more now that I’m older. However, I think a lot of people get swept up in the young adult land and never leave it. I’m of the opinion that people should be well-rounded readers; not just reading what they like, but going out of their comfort zone and reading different things so that we can all grow as people. And I know too many people who are content to simply stay in YA land forever. There’s never a lack of material and the books are often (not always…I know that this is a broad generalization) easy to swallow for everyone.
I strongly encourage my sisters to delve into the classics because I know that it will help them grow into stronger, independent women who will respect themselves and respect others. Not that you can’t take those things from YA books, but the classics have a way of showing you your soul that a lot of contemporary literature sadly lacks.
What do you think?