Please welcome our newest writer, Natalie, to the Eleventh Stack blog team. You can read Natalie’s bio–and the bios of the other team contributors–on the About Us page.
We’re all adults here–well, you are, at least–so I thought this would be a great forum to discuss a very important adult topic: children’s fiction! Specifically, having fun as an adult reading children’s fantasy fiction. Look, before you roll your eyes and close your browser, let me explain where I’m going with this. If you’re between a certain age–let’s say, older than nineteen and still breathing–you lived through the Harry Potter craze as it was happening. Those books got everyone reading them, not just the kiddos.
To a certain extent the HP series introduced a whole new generation of adults to childrens fantasy. By the release of the fourth book I was a college student and addicted to the series. I spent those years working in an independent toy and book store, so not only did I end up reading the books as they were being released, but I also got to read many new children’s fantasy books…books that I would have never given a second look when I was a kid. But then again, I am a firm believer that these books just didn’t exist for readers like me when I was a kid. My friends read a lot of books about baby sitters, silly crime-solving teenagers, and horses: a lot of horses. What is it with the horses? But books about adventures and living in worlds completely different from ours, they just didn’t seem to exist (or at least I wasn’t being introduced to them).
This all means that I have the need to spend many a night reading books meant for ten year olds. Over the years it has gone from me hiding the cover art while commuting on the metro to sitting in the dining room while my family is asleep and my dishwasher is running. And that is why I am here at Eleventh Stack today, to tell you about my latest obsession. I have two words for you: Skullduggery Pleasant. This series, like HP, comes from across the pond, but this time it is Ireland, the cradle of magic. While it focuses on sorcerers and saving the world, Derek Landy, the author, assumes his readers are a little more quick-witted than J.K. ever allowed for.
This series is so much fun to read that on many occasions I have stayed up until 3 a.m.* It feels silly to become so addicted to a fictional, flawed hero; but as I read on the old super-reliable internet, therapists say there is nothing wrong with becoming fixated on fictional heroes…because everyone needs a stable presence in their life. For me it just so happens that my stable presence is a 400-year-old dead sorcerer skeleton detective. So if you are looking for a fun book to read, and you don’t mind looking silly at the coffee shop reading a book with a fireball-throwing skeleton and Children’s Fiction sticker on it, then join me on the Skullduggery train. Later we can talk about watching our kids’ cartoons after they have left the room.
*I have a four-year-old. Staying up to 4 a.m. is the dumbest thing a parent of a four-year-old can do because it guarantees that said four-year-old will wake up at 7 a.m. ready to PLAY. So sorry to disappoint Mr. Landy, but quick-witted I am not.
4 responses to “I Read Kids’ Books–So What?”
I read kids books too, besides HP there’s Spiderwick and Series of Unfortunate Events.
There are a lot of so called kids books well worth reading as an adult. I LOVED Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and its sequels which is for young adults. Her Underland Chronicles are great fun too. What about the Anne of Green Gables series which is utterly wonderful at any age, along with the Little House on the Prairies books? Oldies but goodies. Others in that category include Johnny Tremaine, The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler and My Side of the Mountain, all of which are all so much better than so many of the adult novels that get published today. Too bad people restrict their reading to a genre or an age group instead of just enjoying a compelling story well-told.
YA books are not to bad sometimes. They can be a easy read and still gripping enough. My youngsters are not yet old enough for Hunger Games type books. I was hoping you had some recommendations for kids books themselves as I am Christmas shopping, I have found some great ones so far for the much younger crowd, I would recommend Barbara Ward, she has The Reindeer Keeper and The Snowman maker, they are great. I enjoy reading those so I guess I am even worse for reading young kids books! :) Her books are so fun though for the season, barbarabriggsward.com for her and books info. I don’t think there is anything wrong with reading those books! Keep on!
Welcome aboard, Natalie! I don’t think there is anything wrong with reading “young adult” books, especially when one considers that The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series were written for children/teenagers. The richness of the characters and worlds in Harry Potter, Narnia, or Middle Earth can be enjoyed by those young in age AND at heart. Oh, and I still enjoy watching cartoons from time to time as they are (IMHO) the best format for telling fantastical stories and am looking forward to introducing my son (he just turned two) to the world of the 1990s Marvel and DC superhero cartoons when he is older.