Not Just For Kids
April 11, 2013
I realized a couple of weeks ago that I have been missing out on entire section of the Library: juvenile easy. My obliviousness hasn't been intentional; I just haven't had a reason to browse children's literature since, well, I was a child. And that was a while ago.
The beauty of the problem is that it only takes minutes to remedy. There’s no major time commitment in reading a few children’s book—and the payoff, I realized, can be high. I decided to start with the best of the best: the Caldecott winners, which at Grain Valley are filed in a special section making them easy to find.
Not only were these books beautiful, but they were also insightful and eye opening (I had no idea the Beach Boys performed in Czechoslovakia during the Cold War or that we’ve had a president who played the flute!). Of the ten or so books I read, there are three I want to recommend to everyone.
First is one that begins as a classic retelling of the three little pig's story and ends as something entirely new. While the title, The Three Pigs, may not be so creative, David Wiesner’s spin on the story is. In it the big bad wolf’s efforts to huff and puff down the pigs’ houses, the pigs are blown outside the story. While out exploring in the margins of their own story, the pigs make some new friends and find their way to an alternate, unexpected happy ending. I especially loved the changing illustrations. Pigs in their original world are drawn like cartoons. Pigs in the margins appear real.
The other two books I’m recommending are historical nonfiction. One is perfect for brushing up on your presidential history—So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George and David Small—and the other—The Wall by Peter Sis—will give you insight into what life was like on the other side of the Iron Curtain. The first is perfect recap of the quirky side of presidential life and the other is perfect for anyone interested in the Soviet Union. The Wall would be perfect for high school students learning about communist Russia. These books may be filed in the children’s section, but they are definitely not just for kids!
Grain Valley Branch