Okay, I’ll ‘fess up. I’m an adult. And I read books intended for adults–sometimes grim, serious books. But when I really want to have fun reading, I usually grab a book by someone who writes for kids. I’m a big fan of Garth Nix, Eoin Colfer, J. K. Rowlings, Rick Riordan, Karl Hiassen, Dave Barry, Diana Wynne Jones, and others. My all-time favorite book of all books is a kids’ book–Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows.
Here is why I love kids’ books…
The storytelling. The story–the plot–is super important in kids’ books. It’s all about the challenges the hero boy or girl is facing, and how he or she handles them. And you’re right there with that kid, all the way through, biting your nails. Reading a good kids’ book is like riding the roller coaster.
The momentum. These books rarely bog down. You don’t have to push through them. They pull you along. It’s hard to put them down.
The characters. The young heroes are usually (not always) straightforward and easy to like. You’re on their side right away and you care about them. You identify with them. I mean, everyone is a kid or was a kid. The villains tend to be entertainingly nasty and easy to hate. The supporting characters are often good-natured and eccentric and stalwart.
The humor. Not every kids’ book is funny, but a lot of them are. Whenever I read a kids’ book by Hiassen or Barry, I always end up laughing away. Much to the dismay of my wife, who is usually sitting nearby reading some serious, grown-up book.
The adventure. The stories can take place anywhere, anytime. Incredible events occur. Danger is ever-present, but the young heroes always manage to come through okay. Though, of course, the occasional sidekick doesn’t make it.
And those are just a few of the reasons I read books written for readers who are nine, twelve, fifteen years old. What do you like best about the kids’ books you read?