Children’s Literature, YES! (and YA too…)


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.

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Here’s what’s left of my collection after I gave most of my library away…

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?

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8 thoughts on “Children’s Literature, YES! (and YA too…)

  1. ablightedone says:

    LOVE Ella Enchanted. I think it’s good for people to be well-rounded readers but if people don’t enjoy other stuff, there’s no point in forcing themselves to read it. I like reading all sorts of books and I do think it helps you as a person. But I do think that if someone really enjoys YA and wants to stay in that genre, it’s up to them. I do kind of agree about the writing in classics, but I think any book you really connect with can show you your soul!

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  2. Colleen Thorsen says:

    I think the beauty of children’s book is they remind of us of our first love. The awe of a good story. We fell in love with those stories as children. We requested that our parents read them over and over, and then we learned to read them ourselves. They spurred us on to learn to read so we could read the stories for ourselves. As adults most of us, still love the stories, and have read the books over and over again to the next generation. It is the passing on of one of the true loves of our lives. A legacy of literature and learning. I still delight when I read The Gruffalo, and The Strawberry, the Mouse and the Big Hungry Bear. I am saving those books to read to my grandchildren.

    The classics have a role in a well read person’s library, but it is great children’s books will spur the next generation to be well read.

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