Child's Play


 I remember when my kids were little, and I’d read to them almost every night before bed. There were always a few favorites they requested from our Dr. Seuss collection of stories, filled with tongue twisters and oddly wonderful imagery.  It encouraged their imagination because hearing me read aloud, while looking at the illustrations, helped them see the stories in their own way.
My son wasn’t always interested in pre-made characters, and often demanded I make up stories just for him. Since I had a heavy work schedule at that time, which didn’t leave me with much in the way of brain juice to keep my mind working efficiently, I made up a Pokemon character based on my son and created tales around him.
It had the same result as reading to my girls... it made him tap into his imagination and play his own mental movie about what was happening. He knew his character was going to become a Master in this saga, but how it happened would depend on Dad not nodding off and rambling incoherently before he got there.
These are the joys of an active and abundant imagination. Both of us were making up things as we went along. It wasn’t a pre-designed story from a much-loved children’s book, but the end result was the same.
This probably explains why I write stories. Of course, I’d rather my grown-up kids not read what I write, because… well, you know, my stories can be, racy... and, it’s Dad. Eww.
If you look online, you’ll find a lot of great books out there for kids—and, of course, adults—to enjoy. There are plenty in the Children's sections in your local library too, and if you can find a brick and mortar bookstore, they usually have a whole wing devoted to literature for children. You can pick up old favorites like “Goodnight, Moon” for the youngest, or add Bunnicula’s adventures, for young vampire rabbit fans, and there’s always (and hopefully always will be) our best bear friend, Winnie the Pooh. Brian Jacques’ "Redwall" series is also long enough to take youngsters through into their own reading years.
The Young Adult genre has grown so much, including adventures, romance, angst, and complex tales that have come a long way since "Twilight" burst out on the scene and made it plain that Young Adult fiction was, and still is, huge. There were many more before it, but it went BOOM the loudest, and caught everyone’s attention.

Read the entire article in the June 2022 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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