People are often amazed when I tell them that I like reading books for children. In fact someone asked me recently how could I even have time for reading at all. Actually the answers to the two questions are related.
It is partly true to say that I have been reading lots of kids books over the past 4-5 years or so in order to recommend them to my own children. My eldest son is almost 12, he has been turned from a reluctant read to quite enthusiastic once he found the right books: Harry Potter, Diary of the Wimpy Kid and Percy Jackson, BTW.
When do I get the time being a working mum and with loads of “projects” on the go? In fact, there is lots of hanging around involved with children so it is very handy to have a little kindle to pull out of the bag for a few minutes here and there. I do become gripped by some stories that I end up reading late at night.
But why kids books?
I have heard suggestions of a quick and easy read that can be done and dusted in a few hours with out being too taxing – but that is ladies describing Mills and Boon – not my cup of tea at all.
GOOD kids books are certainly not simplistic – not in terms of their story or the language used. In fact I am full of admiration for those who write them really well. Witty dialogue, lots of light humour, gripping stories with suspense and twisting turning plots.
It was December 2000 when I read my first Harry Potter book, which was actually the first children’s book I had read in almost twenty years, since I was at school. I actually read all four that were published at that point and I was hooked. As so many other adults know JKR is an exceptionally gifted writer and story teller. Actually it is hard to read anything else after that without feeling you are reading something not quite as good.
Kid’s literature (for age 9+) does not equate to simplistic stories or childish writing. The books may be just as complex in story line and language as those for adults. In fact, I would say the MAIN thing (possibly the only thing) that makes it different is the age of the central characters, they are children or teenagers not adults. That in turn leads on to other really good things about books for children – no sex! no swearing! minimal romance. I’m not interested in reading about romance but it is OK if it is a minor sub-plot. The romance in Harry Potter was quite enough for me.
We all know loads of adults have read Harry Potter but did you know there are loads of adults reading kids books these days. Actually it estimated that something like half the books published for Young Adults (age 12-17) are actually bought specifically by adults to read themselves. So there are loads of people like me!
Some of the books for children that I’m pleased I have read include (in no particular order) and that I intend to read more by the same author when possible:
- all of the Percy Jackson & Kane Chronicles books by Rick Riordan
- The Hunted by Alex Shearer
- The Hunger Games trilogy by S Collins
- The Misfits by James Howe
- The Glass Collector by Anna-Perera
- The Bone Magician F.E.Higgins
- books by Morris Gleitzman
I am coming to the conclusion that for me:
- A well written book with young people as the main protagonists is perhaps a way of reminding me of when I was younger with my whole life and endless possibilities in front of me and I like that.
- I like the optimism and humour in the books I enjoy (yes there was not enough humour in the Hunger Games – I’m glad I read it, I did not say I think it is perfect).
- I read escapist books taking me into a different world, sometimes science fiction or fantasy but not always.