In a previous post, I discussed a couple of books that helped shape me in my childhood (oops! need to write a follow up!). But this got me thinking, when do we start to think that children and young adult books should no longer be read by adults? For me the answer is never. When I was in my early 20s, I tried to be the intelligent person reading Douglas Coupland, Margaret Atwood, and Malcolm Gladwell (lots of Canadians here, yay maple syrup!). None of these books spoke to me, or took me on a journey through a new land. I felt uninspired to read for a while, and turned to television and movies.
Eventually, I began to re-read my Harry Potter books and I realised what the problem was: A) I am not a person to read a lot of non-fiction unless it is history based and B) there was a quality of hope and redemption in children’s fiction, one that incorporates the realities of the world but leaves the reader to believe that good will out. This post, by blogger Dr. Glenn Doyle, reiterated a major part of why I love children’s books (highly recommend checking it out!), and how it can help save our sanity as adults.
I find that in adult fiction there is a tendency toward exaggerating the unfortunate: love stories that are doomed to failure, altruistic sacrifices in the name of children, and so on. It’s important to read these to engage in the world we have past, present, and future. My inner naive doesn’t like it, however. The news is too full of abductions and murders and unfortunate dystopian-style occurrences, so I’ll stick to Calvin and Hobbes and Enid Blyton novels.
What are your thoughts on reading children’s books?