Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

MG/YA Fiction: The Great Escape

I am sure that people who see me reading in public may wonder why I am often reading kids books. They may think that I am a forty something who is a little slow and can’t comprehend the plots of adults written for people my age. They may think that I am merely holding the book for one of my kids. They would be wrong on both counts.

For one, I have always had a high level of reading comprehension and was a very good student; and two, my cats don’t actually read, though they do enjoy being read to. 🙂


I was always a huge reader when I was younger. I would devour books by the armload and always me the summer reading challenges posed by our teachers – usually by early July. As I got older, I couldn’t wait to read older books. I felt quite grown up when in my early teens I started in on Danielle Steele and snuck a look at Judy Blume’s Wifey.

One of the worst parts of moving around a little after college was packing and unpacking my growing book collection. The third floor walk-up in Buffalo about killed us. But as I look around my “library” now, I know that if we ever move again, I will be paying someone to take that task on, because now the books fill the floor to ceiling shelves, wall to wall in multiple rooms! And let’s face it, my back isn’t getting any younger. 🙂

Have I read all of these books? No. Will I? You can bet on it.

Out of all these vast piles of books that I have acquired (don’t judge – some of you have the same issue with shoes!), my most cherished section of books are those written for kids.

When I became an adult and started to take on the stressors of adult life, I found that sometimes the books I was reading were too much like watching the news – murder, violence, betrayal.  I realized that at high stress times, those stories just added to the tension in my life. Let’s face it, sometimes you need a story that you can truly lose yourself in, one that you read for the pure joy of total escape.

To that end, I found myself in Barnes & Noble, picking out some of the books I had loved as a child. I could almost feel the tension of work and bills and traffic falling away as I picked up each one. Over the years, this collection has grown to include newer books that I wasn’t introduced to until I was an adult. I was drawn to them and enjoyed them as thoroughly as any kid did, I am sure. 🙂

When I started writing fiction, I again found myself drawn to stories for kids. There is something magical about them. There is the obvious magic of fantasy worlds and dragons and evil queens, but  even the ones that dwell on realistic issues seem to shine a little brighter than adult books. Even in the sad books, there is always hope. That is something that publishers for the adult markets seem to think we have outgrown.

I could go on here and list the hundreds of kid books I want to share with you. Books that you will lose yourself in and remember long after you put them back on the shelves. Books you will want to share with your friends, and yes, with your kids, regardless of their age. Instead, I want to give each author their due and spread the love throughout the year. So I will share each author in his or her own post and list some of my favorites by them in each post.

So stay tuned! And get ready to read!! 🙂

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