Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Bookstore Kids

I've noticed that children and adults often see movies or books completely differently. I'm thinking of a time when the adults felt that playground games at the elementary school had gotten out of hand; children were playing "predator". Where did they learn it? Parents in this community are very careful about what they let their children watch on t.v.  It turns out that children had been watching nature shows on public television--which featured a lot of predatory animals.
Sometimes children will ask me to read again and again books that no trade book publisher would even look at. A friend self published a book about her dog, Cap, as a fundraiser. Her mother illustrated it with paintings most third graders would be proud of, and the cover featured a photo of the dog. My preschoolers loved it! Why? The cover and text convinced them it was about a real dog, a friendly dog they might someday meet, and the illustrations were just fine.
The bookstore kids, Amelia (almost 9) and Peobe (5) love a book their mother, the owner, found too amaturish to carry: I Love You More, by Laura Duksta and illustrated by Karen Keesler.  Amelia said "I like it that it says 'I love you more than' so many things."  Was it the repetition? Or more likely that the book really made Amelia feel loved. Perhaps she identified with the child who was being so loved.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

two blogs, two audiences

Some of my favorite artists are children. This pirate is by a very talented 5 year old, Mead Gill. 
As I think through this whole blogging  thing and how I want to approach it, I realize that I have two primary audiences I hope to reach. One is children and their parents. After raising three sons and 20 years of teaching young children, I find that interacting with these people is one of my favorite things to do, and media for young children, especially books, really lights my fire. I would rather see "Happy Feet" or "Howl's Moving Castle" than most adult films, and I can't seem to stop buying children's picture books.
The other group of people I enjoy playing with is creative adults, especially people passionate about children's media (such as the people at the kidlitosphere conference I went to in Portland) and artists and free thinkers. 
I would like to focus this blog (childrensplay) more on children and their parents, though Kidlit bloggers will find things of interest here once I get the review process started. On my Sunflowerpeople blog (, I will focus more on artists and on the creative process. At least, that's my plan now. I suspect there will be some overlap, so feel free to put both blogs on your must read list.