If you have been following my blog for more than one week, you know that I am reading through the Top 100 Children’s Books, a list filled with great classics such as Charlotte’s Web and A Wrinkle in Time. I was inspired by Betsy Bird’s compilation list, knowing what I would have to gain from reading great literature listed there. I was also unashamedly inspired by the film Julie & Julia, in which a young NYC cubicle dweller, wanting to expand her horizons and improve her writing skills, sets out to cook through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I thought, “I can do this with books!” (It’s okay, Mom, you can give me the nerd glasses now.) Alas, the birth of The Literary Wife.
Before I started this blog, I didn’t necessarily have a reason to read children’s books. I am twenty-five years old, formerly worked as a customer service manager and do not have children or nieces/nephews. Anyone in my life might wonder, “Why doesn’t she just read adult books?” Well, my friends and readers, you are about to find out.
1. Books were my friends.
I used to read A LOT when I was younger. Seriously, I owned books #1 through #82 of the Babysitter’s Club at one time. Not kidding. I was one of those kids that blasted through the Summer Reading Program, quadrupling the goal they set for readers my age. All that reading meant that I didn’t have many physical friends. Oh sure, I played with the neighbor kids and my one bestest friend in the whole world, but from what I remember, books were my closest friends. And the books that I read at that time were children’s books. That idea has remained throughout my life.
2. My experience in libraries.
I worked at our local public library for 2 years in high school and had a blast working there. I helped run the circulation desk and also assisted with storytimes and the reading program during the summer. The majority of my interaction there was with children or teenagers, making my exploration and knowledge of the library a bit biased. When I visit my new local library (well, new to me), I automatically go for the children’s room and YA section, as that is where I am most comfortable.
3. My lack of imagination
I am not a writer. Well, not a writer of fiction, that is. And I find myself so often fascinated by the worlds that children’s book authors create (think classics such as The Wind in the Willows, A Wrinkle in Time, Matilda). Children need books such as these to get their brains working, to allow them to think and examine and explore the reality around them and the possibility for more. Does that mean adult books don’t have imaginative ideas? Certainly not. I just find that children’s books have a little bit more.
That, in short, is why I read children’s book. Why do you read what you read?