Friday, April 07, 2006

For Ages 9 to 99

I volunteer a couple times a month to help out at the library at my kids' school. Mostly I help the children check out books properly, process returns, and reshelve armload after armload.

What blows my mind is the shere volume of books out there. My kids' school is not very large - 500 students in 5 grades - so the library is not monumental as far as libraries go. I assume it's average or above for an elementary school library. But dang, it holds a lot of books.

When I find myself with bits of empty time, I'll pick up books that look intriguing. Yesterday, I perused a stack of books that had received a Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Book Award nomination for 2007 to see what stood for good reading these days. One title - Red Kayak by Priscilla Cummings - caught my attention, and I spent a good half hour or so reading it. I was completely absorbed, to the point I plan to purchase the book so I can finish it.

Anyone who dismisses children's literature out of hand simply because it is written for a young audience is really missing some amazing storytelling. Some of the best books I've ever read are considered books for youth. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. The entire works of Laura Ingalls Wilder. And of course, the Harry Potter septilogy (I think I made that word up). Just like those who sneer at romance novels for being formulaic fluff with no redemptive value have no idea what they are missing, anyone who walks away from a kids' book because it's a kids' book is missing some good stuff.

That's all I need, though, to start adding children's literature titles to my TBR pile. I can't keep up within one or two genres as it is!

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