Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Reader

Friday we made a quick trip to the library and I helped Nutmeg find a whole stack of books from her latest favorite series: Junie B. Jones.

In the car, she said something that brought back memories for me and made me smile:

"When we get home, I wanna go in my room and read them ALL right away."

It made me wonder, is there something really special about children's and young adult literature, or is it the the mind of the young reader that makes this special literary exuberance possible? Sure, I still love to read. But it's rare that I anticipate an afternoon of reading the way I did as a kid. (Then again, when on earth do I get the CHANCE to spend the afternoon reading?)

Maybe I should try to write a young adult novel. I don't think I could ever attempt a picture book -- that kind of economy escapes me, and those stories are told so visually which also escapes me. But young adult literature -- that's the one type of book that has captivated me most in my lifetime. And when I think of really great young adult novels, like, say, Where the Red Fern Grows or The Pigman or even the Judy Blumebooks, I could read them again and again. In fact I have.

At any rate, I'm looking forward to reading Nutmeg some of these Junie B. books too. They're very fun. And oh, has the author, Barbara Park, hit upon a winning formula!


Becky said...

I feel like Junie B. is a member of our family. I swear my daughter even talks like her sometimes. They are not what I would call deep, but they are very funny, and it's a kind of funny that makes my kid really laugh, so I'm fine with it.

After that, you can get Nutmeg onto the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary, and she can meet Junie's ancestor. Fun!

Carrie said...

I have already read her the Ramona books through "Ramona the Brave," and she reads parts of them to herself. She's itching to go on, but I feel like the themes are just getting too mature for her after that point. Same thing with the "Little House" books -- I'm just not ready for her to hear "The Long Winter." Besides, she'll have to read that one to herself because I would probably cry too much to get through it aloud. I already had that problem in the one where Pa almost dies in the snowstorm. When the little girls ask to go to bed early because they can't cry in front of their mother! But I digress.

Kori said...

Well, you certainly could do it---you are such a gifted writer. Pam, a friend of mine has a kids lit blog that you might want to check out for inspiration:

As for reading as a kid, I must make a confession: I never had the kind of passion that you or Nutmeg (or my hubby, for that matter) describe. I used to race home, go through my parents Broadway musical records, then perform all the songs in front of the floor to ceiling windows in the living room that acted as mirrors when it was dark outside. I'd probably be a lot thinner if I had kept my zeal for singing and dancing with Mary Martin.

I have to imagine that books provided for you what those musical scores gave me---a glimpse of the possible, the joy of living different lives, etc. Maybe it is the magic of having everything in front of you that makes the tales of others so engrossing when you are a kid?

I don't know for sure, but I can still sing the lyrics to all the songs in "South Pacific" by heart.

Abby said...

Oh how I love me some Junie B.! Such a character! I hope I have a little girl someday that I can share the Junie-goodness with.