Okay, so I have a weakness for Children’s Literature — I’m only human! I also love things that rhyme, which is somehow related, I’m sure. I was at work (I work in a pre-school) last week, and one of the kids asked if I could read “Boom Chicka Rock” (written by John Archambault). I started reading and got so into it that one of my co-workers actually made a comment that I was really enjoying it. The book has such rhythm and so it’s actually quite difficult to keep still, or have a straight face, when you’re reading; this is particularly so when you’ve got a group of involved pre-schoolers sitting in front of you. In fact, I loved the book so much that I am buying a copy for myself. I totally think it’s worth it — quality Children’s Literature is hard to come by, and a good book never gets old.
I think that’s what I love about books: the good ones never go out of style. It’s an interesting exercise, actually, to hang out in the Children’s Literature section of a big book store like Chapters and really take a good look at the quality of the books there. There are certain things that one looks for in a good children’s book, and some of the stuff I’ve found is not only completely developmentally askew, but just plain boring, or wordy, or trying too hard. People think that writing a book for children is easy; let me tell you, it’s not. In my experience, children are neither as simple, nor as complex as we sometimes think they are. I think it takes someone who hasn’t lost touch with their childhood to really know what a child wants and needs to hear. Not losing touch with one’s childhood dreams, emotions and curiosities is a difficult thing to achieve in a world like ours, and I admire each and every author who has managed to channel that child-centered outlook into their writing. I’ve tried my hand at children’s verse, and I hope to publish someday (maybe even soon!), but I’m not so naive as to think that just anyone can write classic, quality books for little ones. Books like “Click Clack Moo Cows That Type”, “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”, “Where The Wild Things Are” and “Madeline” don’t come along every day.
I encourage everyone to wander into the Children’s section of their nearest bookstore and see what catches your eye, and what doesn’t — you might learn a few things.