I will never understand people who like to argue on Goodreads with me about how much I loved or hated a recently read book. See, reading is an intensely personal experience. It’s a bit like saying, “I didn’t sleep well last night.” Jumping in to say, “But I heard you snore!” just doesn’t help matters.
With that said, however, I will admit to feeling a bit snarky lately. And not just annoyed in general, but positively in a rut.
April is the Cruelest Month
This happens every year without fail come spring. Some say it has something to do with the fact that Daylight Savings Time kicks in, allergies are at an all time high which can lead to seasonal depression and it’s tax filing time.
Add to all this the fact that we are so close to summer, we can taste it and yet, it’s not here. Talk about a perfect storm.
Looking for an Escape
So I find myself then constantly looking for an escape, a distraction, something to change it up a bit. Unfortunately, I also homeschool and children if nothing else are creatures of habit.
Most days, we follow a good template. I like our lives, I really do. We stay on track, we get done what we need to and we have lots of fun along the way.
And yet there are stretches of time like lately when there is a distinct sense of feeling overwhelmed that no amount of dreaming, planning or otherwise checking things off my list can overcome.
Enter Children’s Books
When did life get so serious anyway? When did books become about more about wanting to learn something and less about just having fun? Perhaps it’s just me, I told myself. And promised to make reading a throwback to “how it used to be when I was just reading for pure enjoyment.”
It was hard to say what quality I was looking for in a book, really, but if I had to pin it down I would have to say I was going for something akin to what my four year old feels when he opens a book.
I wanted something whimsical and fun, but also something that would hold my interest and just be fun to read.
I’m Not Alone
I’m certainly not alone in reading children’s books. Gretchen Rubin has mentioned in her books that she actually belongs to a book club that reads children’s books. She realized it made her happier.
C.S. Lewis famously states at the beginning of The Chronicles of Narnia that “someday [one] will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” Indeed, there are countless writers out there whose work can only be described as something between children’s and adult writing or both. Neil Gaiman comes immediately to mind.
Dreaming With Eyes Open
One thing I think children’s books do very well is keep things simple. Without plots that are too complicated, including characters with not too much nuance and with just a basic understanding of the world, they create situations that can be not just entertaining but also interesting.
They help me dream with my eyes open.
Another thing I’ve come to appreciate is that they often tell the story from the perspective of someone who truly notices things as a child. As a mom – and a homeschooling mom in particular – I find this perspective invaluable.
We say we want to teach as our children will learn. We say we want to learn right along with our children. I say to do so there’s no better introduction to their world than through children’s books.
And no better time to begin reading one than now.