Last night as I read my son his bedtime stories I realised how much more reading children’s authors’ work receives. I thought about how many times we had read my son’s favourite books, recited the stories off by heart and how many times we had discussed the works with other kids and parents.
These authors’ works receive a lot of love. Most pre and early school children love to read, and their parents happy to encourage reading. I feel quite sad that I can’t remember any of my favourite authors or stories from childhood but I am enjoying the good stories again as a parent (sometimes I wonder if the stories are written primarily for the adults and kids are the secondary audience).
It’s a pity children’s authors are somewhat looked down upon. Oh you write books for kids? (You must not be a very good writer then). Kids are so hard to write for. They have a short attention span and are not impressed with imposters – so getting the balance of short, exciting, kid-speak characters and concepts is much harder than having 70,000 words to build a world or a relationship.
These stories often serve another purpose: teaching kids the basics of language. Combining letters to make sounds: P plus H makes ‘ffff’; how words or sounds can look the same but sound different: ‘cough’ and ‘plough’; learning new words (which was always my favourite part of reading as a kid), and learning how to work out what unknown words meant by their context.
Not to forget the fun of alliteration, onomatopoeia, metaphors and just plain fun rhymes. Kids books are awesome.
One day I’d like to write a children’s book that hits all the right points. For now I’ll just have fun reading all the fantastic ones that are out there (there are so many).