I was raised with a love of books. From having a mother and grandmother that loved to read, to friends that enjoyed the library day just as much as I did. Books are a very big part of me, a very real influence in how I look at things and the magic that I choose to believe is real. They make life more bright and exciting by opening up thoughts that we would never had had on our own. They can fill you with magic or despair, love or hate, truth or lies. They can help you look at life as a magical place or as just an everyday occurrence that will basically be the same for everyone. They teach, they inspire, they bring humor and wit. That is if you choose the right books.
You can call me immature or childish, but it doesn’t change the fact that I love children’s books more than adult books. No, it’s not because I can’t grasp deeper ideas or thoughts. It is simply because adult books don’t have the ability to move or inspire me the way children’s do. Not all, mind you. I have several that I absolutely love and have read them many times. But even they don’t spark my imagination, they touch my romantic side.
So why am I telling you all about my love for children’s books? I found myself looking through book lists over the last several days, making lists of my own, trying to get ideas for future read alouds and recommendations for the kids to read to themselves. I want books that draw them in and hold them there. Books that make them come back to read every chance they get. Books that fill them with the possibility of “what ifs”, “could I’s”, and “I want to do that’s”. Books that remain with them long after the last page is read.
Those being of course the ages I need right now. And then since I was having so much fun and feeling so inspired, I looked at a list for 12-14 year olds. Mistake. Big mistake.
Sex. Dating. Sexuality. Hating school. Sex. Bad friendships. Divorce. Dating. Sex. Thongs(yes I did read that in the title of a book). Angst. Did I mention sex and dating?
Why, please tell me why, when teenagers are already going through so much personal insanity of their own, why for the love of their sanity do we then only fill them with more of the same insanity in their books?!? They don’t need to read about it, they see it every day. And for those that are lucky enough to not see it every day, why would you want to show it to them so early in their lives?
Why, when they reach this crazy but critical age, do we take away a source of imagination, creativity, beauty, adventure, and heroics? Why do we take away joyful and beautiful and replace it with dark, and depressing? Because it’s “real”? Because we want to prepare them for real life?
I say let them be filled with the beautiful possibilities that lie within an adventure or a fantasy, a book filled with hero’s and heroin’s who are brave enough to do things their own way, regardless of what others think they should do. Let them believe and see where it takes them, and then let real life prepare them for real life. You will find kids who are brave enough to do things their own way. You will find kids who aren’t swayed by the crowd. Who have enough self-worth to not have to go through some of the ‘things’ parents don’t want their kids to go through. They won’t grow up delusional or out of touch. They will grow up with a genuine awe and wonder for the world around them, with the ability to find the beauty in the everyday. They will have the ability to see what’s really important in people and make relationship choices based on that. I’m not saying that they won’t make mistakes, even the greatest hero’s made mistakes. What I am saying is that when they fall, they won’t stay there. They will bounce back ready for the next adventure.
This is what I am going to give my kids. This is why I will keep searching for those books that give these things to them. And this is why I will keep reading from the children’s section.
“As parents it’s not our job to toughen up our children to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless” ~ I.R.Knost
Love from here,