Your Destiny Revealed in an Unlikely Place

Each of us is here on earth for a purpose. The purpose is revealed by what we like or love or care about.
Each of us should be, not just excused, but applauded for thinking our purpose/passion is the most important thing on earth. Without that opinion, it's difficult to maintain the pursuit.
I don't know about your passion, but I know children's books are central to mine. And I am familiar with the polite-but-condescending nods I get when I mention this. For many people, children's books are to be put away and, more likely than not, thrown away, when the child goes to high school, certainly when they go to college.
I would politely recommend you revisit your favorites. The books you loved will tell you things about yourself. Charlotte cover

I often ask people to name their favorite book from childhood. The answer is, more often than not, a description rather than a title. The book, whatever it was, made an impression before the age of remembering particulars.
A friend of one of my sons described hers: "A funny book about manners. I think it rhymed." "Oh," I replied, "Never Tease a Weasel?" "Yes!" she exclaimed. I happened to own a copy, and gladly gave it to her.
On an airplane, a sophisticated fellow-traveler to Paris grew misty-eyed describing a book about a junk man in France. "Oh," I replied, "The Ragman of Paris?" "Yes," she answered in some astonishment, especially because the book dates back to 1937. I provided her enough information about book and author to order herself a copy, and she was glad. Katrina cover

This essay was going to be about "life-lessons learned from children's books," except even my eyes glazed over at the title, and at the potential for writing a trite list of platitudes that would bore even me, the writer. The potential for the list to be trite is there because life's fundamentals are the grist for every writer's mill, and it's difficult to be original on a universal topic. But consider these examples, none of which are trivial or superficial:

For steadfastness? Horton Hatches the Egg. Forgiveness? Katrina and Jan or The Silver Skates. Perseverance? Of course, The Little Engine that Could. The value of individuality? Put Me in the Zoo, a book I cherish to this day. The heart breaking reality of death, and of resurrection hope? The Velveteen Rabbit, that powerful story. Tolerance? The Sneeches, no matter what the current dialogue about it may say. Christianity in a nutshell? The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. That life is difficult and fraught with peril? Look no further than Peter Rabbit.

Children are keen discerners of what is true and of what matters. Like their elders, their taste sometimes runs to junk food and junk literature, but they also respond to truth. A children's book must get to heart issues succinctly, and with laser accuracy. Extra verbiage will not be tolerated or the book that contains it will be soon forgotten. False sentiment won't resonate, and preachiness annoys this audience.

Writing poetry is difficult because each word must be perfect for its place in the poem; writing for children requires the same care. Writing for children, done right, is probably more difficult than writing for their elders.

Most readers have had that epiphanous experience of meeting their calling, or their hope, or even their destiny, in the pages of a book. Books, well-chosen, well-written, change lives. That experience is so much more likely in a children's book, because children are impressionable.

My older son called me recently after his daughter Vera discovered, in the Alphabears book I'd given him for his first Christmas in 1983, the letter "V" stood for VERA. She found herself in her dad's book. Because I love children's books, my hope for every child is that they discover themselves in the pages of a kindly book.  Horton cover

I'd be interested in your responses to this question: What was your favorite book when you were growing up?

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Things you might want to do:

To subscribe to my blog, click here. You can read other posts here.
To purchase Hugo Makes Bread with Grandad, Peggy Alberda's heartwarming tale about family bonding and bread-baking, click here. (I got to do the illustrations!) Hugo cover

Pigly coverFor my own children's book about history, architecture, and talking pigs, The Piglys and the Hundred-Year Mystery, click here. (Aimed at 4th through 6th graders, but appreciated by much younger readers and by savvy adults who tell me they read it multiple times.)
Both Peggy's book and mine highlight issues I think are particularly crucial right now.

I'll be at the DASH Homeschool Expo in Auburn, Indiana, at the Soul's Harbor Assembly of God church, Saturday April 10th, from 9 to 2.
Would love to see you if you're in the area!