I could say that I read kids' books and keep up with the latest Nickelodeon and Disney TV shows and films simply as market research for my design and writing...but that wouldn't be entirely true. (Although I have to say that if most big-budget comedies for adults were as funny as ANY episode of Disney's Good Luck Charlie, we would all be much happier when we leave the theater.) I could say that it merely provides a breakout for me, immersing me in a world very different from what I see around me every day, much like watching The Empire Strikes Back, listening to Benny Goodman on vinyl, or looking at images from deep space. These reasons are certainly valid, but they are not the entire picture.
The simple truth is that I just love kids' books and movies. They're fun. And they keep me in touch with my inner 7-year-old, encouraging me to observe things and people, appreciating whatever beauty I find in my own way, for its own sake. They inspire me to wander around, kick up leaves, or play on a forbidden swingset. In short, they make me a more expansive person.
The book shelves near my desk are a very important space: easily accessible and highly visible to me while I work. And more than half of this premium space is taken up by my Beatrix Potter collection (housed next to the Wedgwood Peter Rabbit children's china that I brought back from England), perennial favorites such as The Wind in the Willows, and picture books signed by their authors.
As I write this, I have a Dr. Seuss book, a box of crayons, and a paddle-ball toy on my desk. *GASP!* Before you decide to leave my site never to return, let me suggest that far from being a sign of mental instability (I hope:) or a ridiculous distraction, these implements of childhood spur creativity and allow for a delightful connection with my sense of adventure, innocence, and wonder. I suppose that is what kid lit is all about for me... that and watching kids light up when talking about THEIR favorite books.
This film by author Candy Gourlay is so delightful that I have lost count of the number of times I have watched it. It is a bit long, but if you only watch 4 minutes, you'll see some really cool kids talking about their favorite books...it does boost one's faith in the next generation:)
- The Kiki Strike Series: Inside the Shadow City and The Empress's Tomb ( a 3rd book is coming out this year:) And BTW, I recommend this for adults looking for fun and inspiration and for teens, rather than elementary/tween readers.
- Ramona and Beezus
- Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium
In the near future, I'll show you how entrepreneurs, consultants, and Fortune 500 CEOs are tapping into their creativity and productivity with everything from Go Karts to Play-Dough to Whoopie Cushions (yes, that is a story you will have to see to believe:)