I've created stories my entire life. It started as a youngster, creating alternative endings to movies I watched. The venue then morphed to assigned papers during my schooling years, which extended to collecting personal thoughts in journals. Some of those personal ponderings became part of assigned fiction papers in English class. Other tales I jotted down served as ways to explore my world. And, of course, there are those I've kept in my head my entire life for my own amusement.
One way I've fueled my creative juices has been to read. Read everything and anything I can get my hands on - or, in our new digital world, my eyes on. I'm sure those of you reading this who are writers will concur that the number one advice wannabe writers are given is to read.
But the time comes when reading from the cornucopia of possibilities narrows itself down to reading what the writer desires to write about, wants to share his/her thoughts with the world. Write what you know, we've all heard. For me, writing what I know and exploring the world we live in has always steered me to children's literature.
There are many reasons, and these reasons are personal to me as a writer. I'm sure those of you who write for children have your own motives for choosing to create in the children's market. I could spend a series of posts exploring my 'whys'. Those would differ from the world of picture books to middle grade through young adult. I could say its because I have four children of my own, which would be true. I could also say it's because I enjoy juggling the angst and joys, the adventures and discoveries of all that makes growing up so important.
So why would anyone tell me because I'm no longer a child it's wrong for me to read children's literature?
Most of you have heard about the recent article bashing those of us who read young adult books. And when I say those of us, I'm referring to adults in general, not just writers. I won't give the article anymore credence than to provide you with its title ~ Yes, Adults Should Be Embarrassed To Read Young Adult Books. Feel free to Google it.
Except for the publishing world and its need to thrive, what I read should matter to no one but me.
The author of said article argues one point using the ever and currently popular book The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, stating that it was "... a nicely written book for a 13-year-old...", but "Oh brother..." Which lead the author to ask the audience if this made her heartless or grown up.
Must an adult be heartless when reading a young adult tale? Should adults downplay the true emotions of a book simply because the main characters are earlier on in their life's journey of learning? Because as adults we've lived and seen more, felt tragedy, and been tarnished by the harsh realities of the real world? Or should an adult reader of YA take the wisdom he/she has learned and let it fuel the story for their own personal read? Does being a grown-up mean tossing all youthful feelings to the wind?
I dare say NOT. I will continue to read young adult literature, as I will continue to write it.
Gosh, what would the author of said article say to those Picture Book authors who read picture books? Or to the bazillion, responsible parents (ADULTS) out there who read middle grade books before their kids read them?
Here's a little badge I created for you. Feel free to use it on your site, as an avatar, or even a profile pic.