I have a theory – it is harder to write for children/young adults than to write for adult adults. Why is this? Well, first because kids’ books cannot rely on the faithful, standby plot contrivances of adults’ books – namely, sex and violence. And second, because I think kids are a more difficult and discerning audience than adults. I know this may seem strange and counterintuitive, but trust me on this one. For example, children will not allow an author to take one hundred pages to set the stage for the story, they will not fill in the gaps where the author was too lazy to do so, and they will not be impressed by big words and convoluted sentences that do not actually say anything.
In short, I believe that children’s books have to be written sparingly and to-the-point. And it is for precisely this reason that more adults should be reading them! I know that the subject matter can, at times, be less interesting to adults – not everyone enjoys monsters or suspending disbelief or naughty children who win the day through sheer pluck and nerves. But there are a tremendous number of really great books marketed for children and/or young adults that bear reading – and that I promise adults can enjoy!
Top Ten Kids’ Books Adults Can Enjoy
- A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engel
- The Golden Compass – Phillip Pullman
- The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
- The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum
- Here There Be Dragons – James A. Owen
- Peter Pan – J. M. Barrie
- The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
- The Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster