This week I got to wondering why so many grown-up humans like to read books for kids. Don’t try to deny it, I know there’s a lot of you out there. And you don’t just like them a little bit—you’re passionate about them! So what’s the deal? It’s not like there’s not plenty of good books for adults available.
Cindy has always said she writes for middle-grade readers because stories for that age are the most fun. Those kids are still young enough to enjoy goofy, silly stuff, but also old enough to wrestle with some big ideas.
Maybe that’s why middle-grade has been called the “Golden Age of Reading.” These are the stories that stay with kids their whole lives.
Still curious, I wandered into Cindy’s kids’ rooms. They are both away at college. On their bookshelves, mixed in with high school yearbooks and college textbooks, I found:
- The Hatchet series by Gary Paulsen
- The Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer
- A whole set of Calvin and Hobbs comics by Bill Watterson
- The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
- The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
- The Eragon series by Christopher Paolini
- The Series of Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snicket
- A Wrinkle in Time series by Madeleine L’Engle
- Holes by Louis Sachar
- The Warriors series by Erin Hunter
- The Redwall series by Brian Jacques
- The Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage
- The Inkheart trilogy by Cornelius Funke
- Everything ever written by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
- The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien
That’s a lot of books! And the fact that they’ve kept them this long must mean something, right? But you could argue that as college students, they’re still young enough to want to hang on to childhood mementos.
So I looked through Cindy’s books, too. These are some of the books she’s had since she was a kid:
- The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series by Betty MacDonald
- From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frank Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
- How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
- The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford
So why has she kept these books around for almost 40 years? After a little thought, I’ve decided that I think stories for all ages become part of who we are. And those stories from our middle-grade years, when we are first deciding who we want to be, are the most important stories of all. That’s why we hold on to books from that time in our life.
So, I give two paws up to everyone out there who is passionate about children’s books. We need you writers and editors and agents and librarians and teachers and parents and grandparents. Somebody’s got to write the books and get them out there, and somebody’s got to recommend them and buy them for the kids.
I’m proud to do my little part every Monday.