Kidlit is hot. We all know this. Stores rearrange displays to showcase best-selling children's books. Authors of adult books have added YA and middle grade to their oeuvre, while others hope to debut in the market.
Most interesting to me is that adults, as well as children, are reading kidlit for pleasure. What is it about youth that stimulates our imagination long after we grow up? Is there some part of us that never grows up? Most adults say they shudder at the thought of returning to high school days, and yet we crave stories delving into the uncertainty and pain of those years.
Today's children and teens have never known a world that didn't include the Internet, cell phones and texting, and the reality of cloning and genetic engineering. It's an astounding thing to consider.
But there is something at the core of a successful children's book that can appeal to any age. That is wonder--the sense of freshness that comes with experiencing something new, and when you've only been here a few years, there is much that fits this description. I think the best stories honestly portray suffering and fear but also show the excitement and adventure provided by life on this planet (or an alternate world of equally fascinating possibilities).
What do you think makes literature for children enchant and resonate?