It’s about time I start utilizing my library card! It seems strange that someone like me who reads every available second rarely visits the library, but since I collect books it was hard to justify reading a good one and then not having it to add to my own library (three bookshelves now!)
However, I couldn’t get myself to purchase all the children’s books I was contemplating reading. The idea to read more children’s books came to me over the hours I spent at an elementary school, working for the Boys and Girls Club. I started remembering the way my mind saw the world when I was younger: so innocent, so naive, and everything about it was exciting and I never sat around worrying what was to come or leave. I think even the choices I made as a child were more noble then some of the ones I’ve made as an adult.
My students, the 20 or so Kindergarteners, are always looking for attention games to bring them back to the present moment; otherwise, they are an angry bird, or a pet, or a mommy and a daddy, or a wizard, or a super hero. And some just want to push my buttons by playing on the expensive musical instruments and band stands around the room (because someone thought it was a good idea to put the Kindergarteners in the Music room).
One student drew on the piano with pen to get my attention, but to her it was worth being talked to for those few minutes when I had to scold and explain why what she did was not OK. She didn’t need to worry about the price of the piano. She didn’t need to worry about forking over the bills. She didn’t need to worry about hurting the Music teachers feelings or mine. She fulfilled a single need, the only need she had at that moment: eye contact. If she’d made that mistake again as an adult, she would have been fined hundreds of dollars or at least paid for the cost of cleanup. And what needs as an adult could she say she needed fulfilled after a vandalism act like that? The same one? It definitely wouldn’t fly.
I decided that my life was missing a big part of literature as an adult. Reading novels like The Giver are completely different when you read them as a child vs. as an adult. So, I began with a few random authors, including Neil Gaiman. But then I rediscovered Lois Lowry. I am not a fan of her really young fiction books, like the Sam and Anastasia books, but the junior high age, such as Number the Stars, The Giver, A Summer to Die, and Autumn Street are beautiful stories.
Reading children’s literature as an adult has opened a different chapter to my reading/writing career.