Romans 8:38-39.
  • Sage Allaway

Three Reasons to Read Children's Literature

When I turned twelve, I began noticing the strangeness of the ways people were treating me. I had joined my church's youth group and befriended many people that were several years older than I was. It was the idea that I was soon to become a teenager, and therefore, my lifestyle was in need of change. People acted like the lifestyle of playing pretend and climbing trees was behind me. I never wanted to conform. My Build-a-Bear stuffed animals and my days of curiosity were far too big of an importance in my life.

These were the days when The Hunger Games movies began coming out. I stared at my huge collection of middle grade reads and realized that I didn't fit in. None of my friends read what I read. They all were hooked on strange-looking reads from the young adult genre, and I wanted to know what those books were. Because of that, I made an awful decision.

I read The Fault in our Stars.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not against the book. But I wasn't prepared for what it brought me. Reading about Hazel Grace and Gus's strange romance, I was searching for some strange spark that would bring wonder into my imagination. I was shocked when, in the midst of my search, an inappropriate scene suddenly burst into the book like an uninvited guest. Yuck.

Lack of inappropriate scenes aren't entirely the reason that I'm still reading children's literature, years later. Though, maybe it's a part of it. But there's something within the wonderfully-scented pages that I can't let go. It isn't an issue of not growing up. When I think about it, I realize that there are three main reasons why it is still such a big part of my life.

The theme.

A great wonder behind children's literature is that, more often than not, the words hold a strong theme. Every time I pick up a children's book, I put it down later with a sweet feeling of knowledge. Lois Lowry's The Giver has a complex theme behind its dystopian community that shows the dangers of their practices. Lisa Graff's Umbrella Summer displays grief and anxiety, and how the main character learns to deal with it. Theme is an art, often lost within categories such as the young adult genre. It's an art worth reading.

Books Shape Personalities

People always slightly different, before and after they read a book. When I first read Kenneth Oppel's Airborn, I fell in love with lighter-than-air aviation. I dedicated a full notebook to the idea of building an airship of my own. When I read R.J. Palacio's Wonder, I was inspired with the thought of being kind. When I read children's literature, I am inspired by the thought of honesty and innocence that the books display. If one is affected by a book, then why shouldn't it be a book that displays positivity?

For the Sake of Literary Diversity

I believe that everyone should read all different sorts of books. Classics should not be left alone, and neither fantasy, nor nonfiction- but definitely not children's literature. It's a great thing to learn from every time of book. Wisdom can come from knowledge and experience of different things, and that's no different with books. Understand a literary genre or audience could help one understand the people who read the genre or audience. Literary diversity is a wonderful thing.

I may have been a bit ashamed of my love for children's literature when I was twelve, but I am no longer. There are so many great things hidden between the covers of all those wonderful books. There are so little reasons to ever stop reading them.

- - -

Do you want to start reading children's fiction? One of my childhood favorite books was Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. It's a Newberry medal winner - which is hard to go wrong with. It holds a wonderful theme and a great story.

In order to win Maniac Magee, sign up for my giveaway. Quickly - it's ending in less than two days! Not only could you win the book, but you can also win...

  • An audiobook CD of The Polar Express by Chris van Allburg, narrated by Liam Neeson.

  • A box full of coping skills for the difficult times in life, full of things like Skittles, Bible verses, and colored markers.

Join the giveaway here.