Saturday, November 20, 2010

A is for Apple, R is for Respect

Children's lit! I love it. As previously noted, I went to the new Harry Potter movie last night, and while, in my opinion, all of the movies have been well-done, the books are better. Children's lit and Young adult lit make for great movies (and terrible movies, I am looking at you, all of you people who were involved in every Dr. Seuss adaptation that was not the original animated Grinch). People grow up reading and loving the same books their parents did, and the new books, like Harry Potter, come along and steal our hearts and sweep the world.

And yet. People scoff. People are dismissive. You read a YA book waiting in the doctor's office, and you get asked "why are you reading that? that's kid stuff."

Ah. Well. A good book is a good book. Children's authors create worlds the rest of us can't dream of, whether they're on Prince Edward Island or at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. We remember them for years, think of the characters as old friends. Hold on to copies to pass on to sons and daughters (and nieces and nephews).

So why oh why do they merit a sneer?

There are very few things that make me crankier than this. I'm not telling you that you have to limit yourself to "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" for the rest of your life. But these books stand the rest of time for a reason. They deserve to be read and reread with love and respect. Maybe you don't need to read Dr. Seuss on the subway, but don't  hide your Frances Hodgsen Burnett or Louisa May Alcott. Be out! Be proud! And the scoffers say "excuse me, I need to get back to my book. These characters are much more interesting than you."

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