Thursday, April 13, 2017

K is for “Kids’ Books”

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?







21 comments:

  1. I used to read YA books all the time but got tired of all the tropes-love triangles, instalove, mean schoolkids, teen angst, soulmates...all of it got in the way of the main plot and left me feeling disillusioned with the whole genre. I don't read it or kids books at all now. I do still have my Berenstain Bears books though which I look at for fun and of course Harry Potter.

    I do like your reasons for wanting to publish kids books. Getting children to accept differences in people through fiction is a great notion and I fully back you on that.

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    1. YA fiction does have a lot of tropes. I usually don’t read romance-focused books, so I’ve been able to avoid most of them.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  2. I lived a decade in Western Michigan and, as a Southerner with ancestors who were drafted into that Rich Man's war, was doubly offended by the flying of the Confederate battle flag seen frequently in town! It is offensive to those who ancestors were former slaves and to me.

    Yes, I do read an occasional YA. A friend of mine here in Savannah wrote an interested book that deals with the Southern legacy that you might find interesting--Lance Levens, "Tietam Cane" (http://www.fireshippress.com/fireship_authors/lance-levens.html)


    http://sagecoveredhills.blogspot.com/2017/04/k-is-for-king-cepheus.html

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I’ve seen the flag around here, too. I don’t understand the appeal of it to non-Southerners. Most people around here can’t even use the whole “heritage” thing as a reason to fly it. Colorado wasn’t a state during the Civil War.

      Thanks for sharing the book! I’ll check it out.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  3. I like reading kids books, they simplify things and you can learn more about the world. reading is really a very useful ability and without it, we are are ignorant about the world.

    have a lovely day.

    ~ my K post - Korean Dramas ~

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  4. That picture leaves me speechless. Prom attire, guns, and the Confederate Flag? What were they thinking? Guns and high school students are creepy enough with the high publicity school shootings.

    I read more children's books when my kid's were young. These days, not so much. But society as a whole, could certainly use as much tolerant models of behavior as possible in all media, including books.

    K is for Kevlar—Gift From Aliens?

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    1. Yeah, having guns that close to a school is really creepy.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  5. Yikes on that picture. I love the story though as way of explaining why kids books are so important. We have used books with our kids to help explain so many things because they get it more that way. Love these posts so much!

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  6. Wow, I can't believe that happened. I thought my high school was bad, yeesh. But I can definitely see why you feel the way you do, and I think it's awesome. You're right about kids and their environment, and high school does seem to play an outsized role in our lives. For only being 4 years of our life it sure does affect us, good and bad. I saw a truck here after the election flying a Confederate flag in the local high school lot. Sigh.

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    1. High school had a huge impact on me. It was the ultimate lesson in the importance of being kind to others. Also, it taught me not to put gasoline in a Gatorade bottle. That doesn’t end well . . .

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  7. I love your dream and I'm sorry for your experience at high school.

    As part of my degree I studied Children's Literature and found it really fascinating, particularly reading about authors who wanted to write books with characters which their readers would relate to. One was a book about a refugee and I realised that that's the only the second book I've ever read with a child refugee as the main character; how many child refugees are there coming to the UK each year? And how many of them are going to find books in their school library about other kids like them?

    I think the books children and young people have access to are really important. Not only can they give you someone to relate to, someone who is experiencing the same problems and difficulties as you, but also it can open your eyes to just how the world is to other people.

    I hope some day you are able to start your publishing company and share some of those books. :-)

    Cait @ Click's Clan

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    1. I love children’s books because they often tackle themes that adult books ignore. I want to see even more diversity in children’s books. I think people would be nicer to each other if they knew that the “other” isn’t so different from themselves.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  8. Children's books, like the type you're talking about, are so important. A lot of kids don't have the chance to see the world outside of their own neighborhoods, and books give them a window into the rest of the world. I firmly believe reading about different types of people and experiences make kids more tolerant in real life. Great post!

    operationawesome6.blogspot.com/

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    1. Exactly. Books give people the chance to see parts of the world that they’d never be able to see in real life.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  9. Super important points, AJ, and I look forward to the creation of your publishing house. Today I showed my 7th and 8th grade classes a video about the most banned books of 2016, and they were gratifyingly horrified that George, I Am Jazz, and Drama were all on the list--just because they have gay or transgender characters. No actual sex or anything--two are about children and one includes a pretty tame kiss. So I have hope that not all kids are like the ones in that horrible photo.

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    1. I’m glad that kids want to read books about people who are different from themselves. Too bad adults freak out about anything they don’t understand.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  10. What a wonderful post! High school and middle school are hard. For some kids a book could make a big difference. Good for you!

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