Why do some adults, regardless of whether they have children, read children’s books?
Mea culpa. I confess. I’m an adult with a guilty passion–I read children’s books. And I indulge in this passion. Everyday. And I don’t even have any kids. Wanna know what’s scarier? I’m not the only adult who has this passion.
Working in a library, I’m naturally surrounded by all kinds of books, so I probably see as many if not more children’s books than the average parent does. I and my co-workers all believe in the following maxim (which we made up ourselves): “Sometimes you have to take the time to read a children’s book.” Whenever one of us comes across a children’s book that seems interesting, we usually take a moment to read it and, if it’s worthy, share it among ourselves.
There are several reasons why we pause for a children’s book. First, we’re all kids at heart and like to look at the pictures. Second, we like being drawn into a short, engaging story that doesn’t take too long to read. Third, we can still learn some valuable lessons from a children’s book or be profoundly moved.
When Nancy Tillman’s Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You was first published about 2 years ago, all of us at my library got sentimental and weepy-eyed. It gives the message, particularly to children, that we will be loved no matter where or how far we are from those who care about us. You can probably understand that for some of my co-workers with children (younger and grownup) or with husbands deployed, this book struck a chord. For myself, living on the West Coast apart from my family on the East Coast, this book had yet another meaning for me. I was so touched by this book that I gave it to my mother as a Christmas present and had no idea until later how much it affected her. Apparently, it moved her so much that she shared it with my aunt, who in turn gave copies of it to her son and stepdaughters the following Christmas.
Sometimes, seemingly simple children’s books can deeply touch us or give us a good laugh. With all the problems and complicated situations we face as adults in modern life, we can use a little break from time to time to forget our troubles and be transported to a simpler time when all we worried about was making a friend on the first day of school or whether goblins and fairies really existed. In his dedication to The Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis wisely wrote to his fast-growing goddaughter that “some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” He was definitely on to something. Why can’t more of us be old enough to read children’s books?