Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Every day in April (except Sundays), I’ll be sharing a short bookish memory with you.
For most of my adult life, my goal has been to start a publishing company. I want to publish books that teach kids and teens about the world. I know that "Teach kids about the world" is the vaguest business plan ever, but I’m not going to start a company anytime soon, so I have a while to think about it.
When I tell people that I want to publish kids’ books, one of the most common questions I get is, “Why kids’ books?” For many years, my response was, “Um, I don’t know. Because I like them.” That’s true, but it’s also an unsatisfying answer. I didn’t (and still don’t) fully understand why I like reading books for kids and teens.
Strangely, my children’s book obsession became a little clearer when I saw this photo on the news.
This picture was taken behind the high school that I graduated from. Those kids go to the same school that I did. The photo was taken in Colorado, which isn’t a former Confederate state, so many people around here interpreted the photo as a hate symbol. Some people were surprised by the kids’ behavior, but I wasn’t surprised at all. The students at my high school weren’t very accepting of differences. I guess nothing has changed since I graduated.
One of my most vivid memories from high school is talking to my gay friend in the hallway. As soon as I walked away from him, another boy grabbed me by the backpack and dragged me backwards. He screamed “You’re going to hell, fag lover!” in my ear and then slung me to the floor. It didn’t hurt, but I’ll remember it forever.
I think this memory is a partial answer to “Why kids' books?” I’m not naïve enough to think that books can solve the world’s problems, but children learn from their environments. If they see characters dealing with differences without violence, maybe they’ll be less likely to resort to violence in the real world.
So, why kids’ books? Because I think they can make a difference.
Do you read books for children or teens? If you do, what do you like about them?