My son never enjoyed Captain Underpants. In fact, as far as I know he never even picked one up. But then again he didn’t care for Sponge Bob either. Nope. He had his own favorites.
I learned this, much to my chagrin, one day at Main Street Books. We almost never go in without buying something. So we were pulling books off the shelves and paging through them, looking for favorite authors as well as new treasures.
“Mom, can I have this?”
I was completely ready to say yes when I turned and looked at the book in his hands. What? Really? Ugh. Before you read any farther please understand that I later became a total fan but my first reaction to David Shannon’s No David! was no. I love elaborate nuanced art work. This. No. I love playful texts that are fun to read aloud. This was insanely short.
“Let’s find you a nice book.”
“I want this one.”
“Why? Why do you love it?” I was thinking what’s to love?
“It’s just so beautiful.”
That was not the answer I expected but it did bring home the point that we need a wide variety of books to appeal to a wide variety of readers. Some readers, like my son, are going to go for books about boys that are into everything and leave chaos in their wake. Some readers won’t more elaborate stories about a girl with sparkle and flair (Fancy Nancy). Others want books with animal characters that stand in for the children (Yolen and Teague’s Dinosaur books).
And this is why we need a wide range of writers, illustrators and other publishing professionals creating a wide range of books. What I write is different from what Jeanie Ransom writes and from what Stephanie Bearce writes. What one reader loves, another just won’t get. And that’s why we need to promote books and reading vs just our own books.