Do you remember, when you were a kid, what it was like to walk through the cafeteria with your lunch tray or walk down the aisle of the bus, and kids are putting coats and backpacks across the empty seats so you can’t sit down? Remember that feeling?
Or, say, you’re walking down the hallway at school and some girl comes up behind you and cuts a foot-long section of your hair off while her friends (yours too, you thought) laugh hysterically.
This is why books are so important during childhood. Because one day, you’ll open up a book and discover a child who hurts like you do, and suddenly, you’re not alone.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Because books are not just about company or validation. They shake up your ideas about everything you think you know. They show you that the world is infinitely more glorious and more wicked than you ever dreamed.
The world is no longer just a tiny corner crammed with backpacks and mean girls. And while you once walked silently past the girl holding the scissors, determined not to let her see you cry, now there are so many more possibilities.
My favorite children’s books?
If it’s been a while since you’ve read a children’s book, try one again. You’re not too old!
What I read this month: Barbara Kingsolver, THE POISONWOOD BIBLE (Absolutely tremendous. Thanks to Lizzy for the recommendation); Deepak Chopra, CREATING AFFLUENCE (I know, Mr. Henderson teased me, too, but okay, so I downloaded this off audible.com and I listen to it when I’m folding laundry, and now I’m going to be so rich and famous). I also tried to learn how to build suspense by reading these: Laura Benedict, CALLING MR. LONELY HEARTS (I had nightmares for days); Alexandra Sokoloff, THE HARROWING (It’s like a master’s class on how to structure fear); Joe Hill, “THE BLACK PHONE” (Whoa. I’ll remember this one forever).
What I read to my kids: Neil Gaiman, CORALINE (freeaky!); Stanley Weintraub, SILENT NIGHT: THE STORY OF THE WORLD WAR I CHRISTMAS TRUCE (read the intro and first chapter – very interested in the story but not in the cumbersome way it was told – so we decided to order the movie, Joyeaux Noel, instead); Laura Ingalls Wilder, LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS (I’ve read this to the boys before, and they always complain because the cover is so girlie, but it’s fascinating history: balloons made of pig’s bladders, a corn cob named Susan, and who can eat cheese again after reading about rennets?).
Thanks to everyone who played here, and to my guest, Belle Yang, for sharing her art and her powerful story. And thanks to those who linked to LitPark this month: The Daily Cartoonist, Editor and Publisher magazine, Jill Wheeler, Kristan Hoffman, Dog Fact #9, Journalista – the news weblog of The Comics, Editor Unleashed, BitterSweet Blog, Gray Skies, The Debutante Ball, David Niall Wilson, A Cold Rush of Air, Write Black, Kelley Bell’s FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS, Ad Libitum, Side Dish, Belle Yang, Read by Myfanwy, Word of the Day, and African American Family Spotlight (this was a fun surprise to see an old, old friend show up at LitPark. I hope you’ll check out his brand new site and spread the word to anyone who might be interested!)
Oh, wait! A few announcements, all concerning former LitPark guests: Danielle Trussoni just got an absolutely huge book and movie deal for ANGELOLOGY (!!!). Frank Daniels’ FUTUREPROOF is now out with HarperPerennial (it’s raw and nerve-wracking and quite amazing). And finally, Jessica Keener is helping to organize writers and bloggers to raise awareness about children’s epilepsy. If you’d like to be involved, all you have to do is put this logo and this link on your webpage or blog through March 26th:
If you do this, please leave your webpage url in the comments section so Jessica can add your link to the thank you page over at Purple Day. And if you have questions for her, you can leave them in the comments section, as well.
That’s it! Tomorrow, my kids will be playing in the Best of Show concert at the Blender Theatre – Green-Hand on lead guitar for Gimme Shelter and Bach-Boy on keys and vocals for Paint it Black. Have a great weekend, everyone! And I’ll see you here the first Monday in March…