NOT KIDDING AROUND - Why You Need Kids' Books in Your Life Right Now.

When's the last time you read a children's book? If you don't have kids, then probably not since you were a kid yourself, but if you have kids, then you might have read the same one, last night, for the bazillionth time. What about reading a kids' book just for yourself? I bet you haven't done that in a while. Here's why you need to do yourself a favor and start reading children's books again.

Audrey should be reason enough to keep reading. Image taken from Gallo Nero.

Adult life is complicated - bills, family, work, relationships... Even dealing with national news can be a daily devastation. Don't forget that being a kid is tough, too, though. People who write and illustrate children's books know this. That's why their books are what we need as adults. It doesn't matter if it's a sad book or a funny book; kids' books are the ultimate safe space to navigate all of your feelings. They're a fantastic get-away and quick escape.

Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are, on Being a Kid. Video taken from Blank on Blank.

Escaping from daily life is why a lot of people like to read, but reading isn't something that many of us make time for. People feel like they should read more, but there are a lot of reasons why we don't. Children's books are a great solution. They don't take too long to read, they're not too challenging or heavy, and they're also a lot of fun. Whatever genre it is you like, there's a good kids' book out there for you to read.

My top recommendation for an amazing kids' book is Wildwood, by Colin Meloy. Image taken from Illustration Friday.

Children's books have something else going for them that books for adults don't: art. (You knew I was going to get to the art stuff sooner or later, right?) Kids' books are the easiest, most cost-effective way to bring more art into your life. There is so much amazing artwork to be found in so many different children's books! Kids' books will introduce you to outstanding artists you wouldn't have heard of otherwise. I discovered one of my favorite artists, Carson Ellis, by reading Wildwood by Colin Meloy. Ellis's work is beautiful and inspiring, and I want it all over my walls.

Beautiful artwork from the young adult book, Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, illustrated by Maira Kalman. Image taken from There's No Life Without Books.

Can you remember the last time someone encouraged you to use your imagination? That's generally something we reserve for children, but pushing your brain's imagination is important no matter how old you are. The more we exercise our imagination, the easier it is to problem-solve. Imagination is where we get our great ideas, and besides that, it keeps our brains healthy and active as we age. Books for adults can stimulate our imagination, but children's books take us even further to places and scenarios we don't allow for in our grown-up lives.

Imagine a love story between a lion and a penguin! One of my favorite kids' books is I Met a Penguin by Frank Asch. Image taken from Abe Books.

People often dismiss children's things as silly; if it's silly, it must be unimportant. Kids' books, however, can be outrageously poignant and pull at our heartstrings in a way we don't see coming. They take big feelings and hard emotions and express them simply and beautifully. These books make us feel seen, included, and encouraged. Maurice Sendak, Frank Asch, A.A. Milne, and contemporary authors like J.K. Rowling and Daniel Handler all connect us to bigger and deeper truths in non-threatening ways.

A sketch I made when I was thinking of  my favorite scene from my favorite book, Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie.

The best part about kids' books is that they connect us to people we have a hard time relating too: children. Kids' books not only help you get in touch with your inner child - they help you get in touch with actual children. Whenever I meet a teenager or child, their eyes light up when I ask if they've read whatever new kids' book I've read. It they have, they love talking about it. If they haven't, they enjoy hearing why I like the book, and then they tell me about their favorite books and stories. It gives us something to talk about other than the questions they've already answered a million times before, and it gives me insights into a younger generation.

Theodosia Throckmorton is a great character to connect over with the kids in your life. Image taken from Theodosia Throckmorton.

So what are you waiting for? Go to your library or local bookstore. Connect with other artists, other generations, and, most of all, with yourself.

Image taken from Children's Book Daily.


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