Throwback to Storytime: Why include Children’s Lit in a Publication about YA?
Here at Pine Reads Review, we spend quite a bit of time talking about young adult literature. It’s fresh, it’s funny, it’s relatable, it’s honest, it’s sometimes heart-wrenching, and it’s a genre constantly expanding and evolving. There’s a lot to be said about young adult lit. But in addition to exploring the Wonderful World of YA, we’ve decided to delve into a slightly different genre and dedicate a page of our site solely to children’s picture books.
At this point, you may be asking yourself: why include children’s literature in a YA publication?
We say: why not?
Children’s literature is often the birthplace of reading; it is the mechanism that introduces young people to books. The stories that we cherish as children will influence the stories that we accept into our lives as teens and adults. A good children’s book—the right children’s book—has the power to cultivate in an individual a love of reading that is long-lasting, even during the messy/crazy/busy/awkward years of young adulthood.
There are those that (mistakenly) believe YA narratives are exclusive to adolescents aged 13-18, that picture books should be confined solely to elementary schools. However, just as young adult lit is not shackled singularly to the hands of fresh-faced teenagers looking for an outlet to direct their angst over unjust dystopian systems, their emotional journeys of self-discovery, their frustrations over sexuality, or their family dramas, children’s lit is not reserved just for “kiddos.” Books accompany us through the growing years and into the present while we gain our lifelong friends: the Greg Heffleys, the Ron Weasleys, the Emily Elizabeths, the Cats wearing Hats. The stories they belong to, despite outwardly simple in structure, are applicable long after childhood has passed. Without them, we would not have the imagination needed to interface with the worlds and characters that identity themselves by the label “YA.”
When we are exposed to books early on, we understand the way that they work. More importantly, we gain the confidence to understand how the world works. Rudine Sims Bishop says that books can be windows, sliding glass doors and mirrors all at once, that, “literature transforms the human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience.” Books make us feel more capable, not only by giving us a means of feeling comfortable with printed word, but by teaching us lessons about the places beyond the pages. Literacy, and access to stories, is invaluable for a child.
We include children’s literature here because it is essential. Because without it, YA wouldn’t even really be a thing. Or at least a thing we could access. Hiding behind the fuzzy animals, the colorful pictures, the imaginative text is a great big world that has a lot to say for itself.
So c’mon now, listen to your inner kid, and go… explore it!