Why Children’s Literature?

So, you may be wondering why I began graduate study in children’s literature and decided to dedicate an entire blog to it.  Back when I began my studies, I couldn’t really put my finger on what it was that drew me into the study of books for children.  At the time I was working at an early childhood development center and was the proud aunt of a toddler boy.  (I still am a proud aunt, although my nephew is certainly not a toddler anymore!)  Being around young children at this time and hearing their interactions each day inspired me to try my hand at writing stories for kids.  I then enrolled in a non-credit writing course.  This not only enhanced my interest in writing, but it really ignited my passion for children’s literature.  I re-visited so many stories I loved growing up and was introduced to more modern, complex, and fascinating tales and characters.  Soon my bookshelves were bursting with more and more children’s books…and I didn’t even have a child of my own!

At the suggestion of a writing advisor, I decided to apply for a program to receive my Master’s degree in children’s literature.  After an entrance exam and a lengthy application process I was accepted and began what would become one of the most meaningful experiences of my life.  I became drawn to picture books as a writer and reader, so the first text of the first course I took in the program eloquently put into words my feelings about becoming deeply involved in children’s literature.  In their book , The Picture Book Comes of Age, Joseph and Chava Schwarcz state that picture book components work together to impact a reader through, “…their playfulness – visual communication, optical illusions, and message in configurations of shapes and colors surround us, beckon to us, and often practically enwrap us” (3).

This is what I love about children’s literature: the experiential nature that invites readers to laugh out loud, stare at a lovely image, communicate their feelings, or just play.  I have learned to appreciate children’s literature for this potential and I hope that your experience of children’s books will change or become enhanced through this blog.

Happy Reading!

Lindsay

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