Monday, August 25, 2014

Why Escapist Reading is Good for Children

(This is an opinion post. I haven't done any research on the subject aside from my own childhood experiences and those of others.)

We've all read them. A friend's sister calls them "middle-grade death books". These are the books that win awards and are required reading for most (if not all) middle-schoolers. They're also some of the most depressing, childhood-scarring reads ever.

When I was in junior high, I adored English class and my teacher. She was the sweetest, but even her shelves were filled with these dismal stories. There was little for escapist readers like me to enjoy within the confines of required reading. (Does anyone remember a book called Goodbye Paper Doll? That book left such a bad impression on me I still remember its title after 22 years.)

Since then, reading lists have expanded to include books my twelve-year-old self would happily devour. Where were they when I was in junior high? (We're talking books like Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Percy Jackson.)

I suppose I shouldn't poo-poo the 'middle-grade death books'. When I asked library patrons in my age group what books they liked as preteens, some of them even mentioned a few of those titles. People do like them, but, for the life of me, I can't understand why.

Just to give you background, I don't like depressing entertainment. I wasn't one of those girls who flocked to the opening of Titanic in theaters, tissues in one hand and chocolates in the other. (My boyfriend at the time suggested we go.) I'm not the kind of girl who invites all her friends over to watch The Notebook (with more tissues and chocolate). I'd much rather watch The Fifth Element for the thousandth time with pizza and ice cream.

It's perfectly fine for people to enjoy melancholy and dramatic entertainment and literature, but it's better to give them a choice in the matter. Especially children. Childhood is the time to encourage dreaming, hoping, and fantasizing of a better life. After all, they're the ones who'll make it happen. Whatever we put into them will manifest later in a future we'll only have a glimpse of.

Is it good to show raw, true, heinous life events to preteens because maybe it'll help them deal with it better when they're faced with it themselves, or maybe they're going through it now and it'll help them understand they're not alone? I don't know. I still stick by letting them dream awhile and escape from whatever it is they're going through - be it bullies at school, pressures of all kinds from peers, or abuse/neglect at home. And you know what? Within those escapist reads, some cunning authors weave precious truths kids will take away with them: truths like courage in the face of adversity, belief in the sanctity of life, trust in your friends, and hope that things will turn out alright in the end.

Hope isn't a bad thing to teach them at all.

What do you think?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tell the Universe Your Dream

A few weeks ago, Holli Moncrieff shared with me an inspiring video with the basic message "tell the universe your dream and it will help you achieve it." As ego-centric as that sounds, there's truth to it. I've read books with the same message. (Write It Down, Make it Happen is one that's really inspiring.)

Guess what, Holli. The universe heard.

I won't go into detail about it now, but I believe in the power of positive thinking, positive action, and praise to God whether or not things work out. Here's hoping things work out.

Do you believe in a helpful supernatural or natural world? Have you ever had things turn out so grandly in your favor it felt like a fairy godmother was working for you?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Two-Week Mashup

I just wanted to share with you what's been going on the past couple weeks.

In Life:

House renovation
 < ------ new siding, new roof, new windows and doors!

Behold the cellar! --------------------------- >

 In Writing:

New flash fiction! Newly discovered magazines to submit to once I polish said flash fiction! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Anyone sub to Daily Science Fiction, Clarkesworld or Asimov's? I'm getting pretty excited about it because Daily Science Fiction asks for flash series - which I write!

In Art:

I finally designed the airship my phenomenal Captain Trav explores the skies in! ---- >

In whimsical pursuits that have nothing to do with writing or art (well this one might):

Weird Al has a new album called Mandatory Fun! (if you haven't already heard) Here is a video from said album:

Have you done anything lately that you want to tell the world about?

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