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Thankful Thursday XXIX – Children’s Authors

Yesterday, while waiting for my stepson to get done with his medical appointment, I decided to spend a bit of time in a used book store nearby. Bookstores are always something I’m thankful for, by the way. Browsing through the many aisles of only semi-sorted novels, bios, texts and more, I noticed a little kids bird book on a clearance table for 50 cents. It was the same one I had when I was little – maybe eight or nine, the first one I had about birds. I put out the two quarters happily for nostalgia’s sake. Sure, the book is tiny and only about 100 pages, and has perhaps only one-fifth of the species of birds in the country listed and illustrated, and sure I have three full-detailed, upto date, proper field guides listing the 700 or more types of birds one might see, or hope to see, in North America already. But this brought back memories of when I was a kid and we put out a bird feeder in the garden and I’d see some colorful little bird at it. I’d stare lovingly, then go to the book to see if I could identify it. Often I could, sometimes it remained a mystery. But it piqued my interest. I’d look through thinking, “yeah, I’d like to see a Bobolink” or “where could I find one of these Pileated woodpeckers?” . It helped spur on a lifetime hobby and source of relaxation for me.

As well, of late, I’ve been reading the biography of Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. A polarizing figure in today’s world to be sure, but the creator of so many of the books that I, and many others my age, learned to read with : Green Eggs and Ham. The Cat In The Hat. The Grinch. They were books that made me laugh, and made me think (about the Grinch’s selfishness and how he turned it around at the end, for instance, a lesson in good and bad that anyone can get). I loved having them read to me and were simple enough for me to begin to figure out the words as I followed along. Soon I could read them myself. Precisely what the Doctor had set out to do. He wanted kids to read, and he figured out that the “Dick & Jane” readers that were so prevalent in the pre-WWII era tended to bore kids and drive them away from books. He set out to make books that spoke to children as equals and made them want to turn pages and look forward to their next one. Whether you like his socio-political views or not, you’d have to agree he succeeded on that.

So this Thankful Thursday, I’m thankful for children’s authors. As a writer myself, I know how difficult it is to write a story that’s compelling and interests adults. Doing the same for small children is that much harder. The vocabulary is more limited, some of the morals or storylines have to be much simplified, the characters more memorable and the work has to keep going without slowing down lest they throw the book away and wander off to stick a waffle in the DVD player or whatever little kids do. Yet with the world becoming so complex, and so very much media to consume, our whole future relies on today’s children learning to read…and wanting to do so.

So a tip of the hat, on the back a pat, a full salute, from the horn a toot… here’s to you, children’s writer – you are making today’s tomorrows so much brighter!

4 Replies to “Thankful Thursday XXIX – Children’s Authors”

  1. Nice choice and write-up for Thankful Thursday.
    “Yet with the world becoming so complex, and so very much media to consume, our whole future relies on today’s children learning to read…and wanting to do so.” So true. It’s awhile before the kids pick up the books to read. It has to pique the parents’ interest in order to get them to buy it for the child and then often to read it to them first. Later the child picks up the books. I love Dr. Seuss and am not linking him to his not-so-savory aspect as I didn’t see it in the books I chose to buy or borrow and read to my kids. I loved reading Dr. Seuss’ ABC book to them and all of the rest. Horton Hatches the Egg is a favorite one also. Another child’s author I adored reading to them is Roald Dahl (with Quentin Blake’s illustrations,) after randomly finding “The Twits” at the library.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. thank you! Yes, I was lucky growing up in a house with lots of books and having a mom who often read to me and got kids books for me and my brother. It probably was one of the biggest factors in shaping my life. I loved the Seuss books as a small child (and the ones his imprint printed under his direction like ‘Are You My Mother?’) and that in time led me to more grown-up books. Dahl was a real talent as well, like you say, and those types of authors led to a JK Rowling being possible (in her case and the HArry Potter books, I was probably ‘lukewarm’ to them but loved the popularity and how many tweens took up reading and going to libraries because of them.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My favorite was probably Charles Schultz…of all the writers he was the man to me. The Peanuts lived in a kid’s world with the adults just being there at times…they were not the most important people…it was the kids. The adults even got censored…wah wah wah wah…etc. The kids had their own world without interruption.

    My second favorite was indeed Dr. Seuss… he made learning fun. That is easy to say but not easy to do…he did it. He also taught us about treating everyone the same…with the Sneetches…and so many more.

    Would you….could you…in a house? With a mouse…I could go on all night lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved ‘Peanuts’ as a kid and still like them, especially the Christmas special. You’re right, while we think of him as a cartoonist, Schulz put forward some pretty good, and deep truths about life in those four little panels a day.


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