When I decided to self-publish my Christmas story last year, it received mostly positive reviews, but those who didn’t care for it so much had a common complaint: they thought they were getting a children’s book, and it wasn’t.
Nowhere on the cover or in the description is there mention of children as an intended audience, but apparently the combination of Saint Nick and a Fir Tree character spelled “Kid’s Book” to more than one person. This year I’m changing the description to read: “a Christmas tale for grown-ups who haven’t forgotten the magic.”
One reader grumbled that it was too grown-up for kids and too “silly” for adults. Well, to each their own, but I find it sad that some adults feel there is no place in their lives for indulgence in a bit of whimsy or make-believe.
On the other hand, there’s ample evidence that many of us continue to enjoy not only children’s classics that we remember fondly from our young days (The Wind in the Willows gets my vote for the children’s book that I continue to love and re-read the most of all) but also new classics such as Harry Potter that take us into the realms of youthful fantasy.
When I was visiting my sister this summer, I started reading my nephew’s copy of Rick Riordan’s THE RED PYRAMID, the first in the fantasy series that involves Egyptian gods and two modern-day kids. Such fun! I saw it last week at a bookstore and decided it was the perfect book to follow Tana French’s deep and gorgeous but tragic BROKEN HARBOR. Time to switch gears to something lighthearted after all that Hibernian angst.
But what of books and stories like my “Fir Tree” that seem to be neither fish nor fowl? Fantasy that doesn’t have adult levels of sex or violence, but isn’t really written with a young audience in mind. I’m drawing a blank. Are there more out there? If you can think of one, let me know.
And meantime, bring on more young adult titles, especially good fantasy. I’d like to hear suggestions for those, too.