Lately, I’ve been having conversations with all of my book-loving friends, many of whom are former teachers, or who work in publishing in children’s books, about why it is exactly that we all love children’s books so much. And it all comes back to our own childhoods. Maybe we found excitement in those pages, or refuge, or familiarity. But because we found those things when we were so young, those books we read helped to form us. We are what we are because of those books that we read. And even though as adults we all read books written for adults, we can’t seem to get over the books that we loved as kids, so we’ve decided to carve careers around children’s books.
I mean, what’s not to like? Gorgeous illustrations, compelling stories, funny ones, poignant ones, all in a satisfyingly fast read. You’d kind of have to be made of stone to see a display of children’s books and not smile.
Among my favorites was HILDA BOSWELL’S TREASURY OF CHILDREN’S STORIES, which included THE SELFISH GIANT and an excellent piece of fantasy called THROUGH THE FIRE. And even though I have now had this book for thirty-something years, any time I start something new, this is the book I think about, with its excellent illustrations and compelling stories. Because this book is why I make my life about children’s books. And I suspect it’s the same for all of my kid book-loving friends.