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How much simpler life is in Children’s books! I’ve been reading a selection of them recently. Yes, you read that correctly, and no, I haven’t lost my mind. I have been reading children’s books again – mostly for ideas and inspiration. During last year’s NaNoWriMo, I drafted a children’s book of my own, and then school got in the way. I wrote for quite a while, and then I had to set it aside to focus on finishing up my schooling.

Now that school has disappeared, I have picked up the book idea again, and I find that some of what I wrote is surprisingly good. It needs work, but I have time for that now. I decided to do some research and have gathered a number of children’s chapter books for the age group I am writing for. It’s been a long time since I read this type of book to my sons, and it’s been an even longer time since I read them for myself.  I’d forgotten what a delight this type of book is!

beezusnimhblueLife is so much simpler. In one book, a young girl’s focus is her horse; there’s no love triangle or tragedy. Another child’s biggest problem is her little sister. Another book is about a little mouse trying to help her young son who is sick. In these types of books, animals talk and have thoughts and feelings. How sad it is that older kids’ books focus on all the stresses and strife that they will experience in everyday life. Books for older kids have darker themes, more temptations and bigger struggles. Maybe that’s a way of teaching them about the world and growing up. Everything seems so gritty and real, and some of the magic is lost.

When I read (or watch a movie) I root for that happy ending. There’s enough tragedy in the world without immersing yourself in it in your spare time. That’s not to say that I haven’t read or haven’t watched sad or tragic things. I don’t live in happy smiley face land. I sometimes think I have more than my share of stress, and maybe that’s why I look to escape from it when I can. I do think that children should be allowed to be children and live in a land of make believe for as long as they can. There’s nothing wrong with that.

smileyfacesAs I write and formulate my story for children, I will strive for that happy make believe smiley face world. I can live there myself when I wear my writer’s hat! There’s nothing wrong with that either.

Smiley face image courtesy of Pinterest