By Sarah at the Library Center
Can I tell you a secret? I’m an adult and I hardly ever read books for adults. Literary fiction for book clubs? Not my style. Detailed nonfiction and memoirs? Not really for me. High epic fantasy that spans generations or bestselling murder mysteries and thrillers? No thanks.
But give me these same genres in children’s or young adult fiction and I’m all in. And guess what? It’s ok! It’s absolutely ok to read children’s and teen books as an adult. That’s where all the best books are being published right now. So why do so many adults think they should be ashamed of enjoying books that aren’t geared towards them?
As we grow up, we often think our reading tastes must mature with us. Yet just like we shouldn’t limit kids to reading a certain level just because they can, we shouldn’t force adults to read books they don’t want just because they are written for adults.
Picture books are hilarious and incredibly savvy. The level of humor and detail that go into stories like Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins or the incredibly detailed artwork and wordless pages of Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell work on numerous levels and can be discussed and enjoyed by all ages.
Middle grade can be exciting, like Christina Soontornvat’s All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team, an incredibly researched and detailed account of a true story that reads like a thriller. Or it can be funny while also getting us thinking, like Jerry Craft’s New Kid, a graphic novel that talks honestly about race, friendship, and the awkwardness of middle school in an accessible and insightful way.
Books for teens have been booming over the past decade and there is no sign of slowing down. From the heart-wrenching Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, tender first love and discovering who you are in Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, or teens fighting back against injustice and using their abilities for good in Kristin Cashore’s Graceling, there is something for everyone.
Children’s and Young Adult books are often written with a focus on character development and faster-paced adventures. Yet even the more leisurely stories like The Vanderbeekers Series by Karina Yan Glaser evoke a sense of wonder.
Even pop culture knows the great secret of children’s books. Numerous characters in the hit show Ted Lasso can be seen reading A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle. We tell kids not to be embarrassed or ashamed of their reading choices and adults should follow this same advice. Plus, reading children’s and young adult books gives you another way to connect with your child and share the joy of reading together.
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