Friday, January 6, 2012

Adults Reading Children's Books?

One of the things I plan to continue with in 2012 is my 100 Book Challenge, where I challenge myself to read 100 YA and MG books in a year. This year, I actually read more MG than YA.

Along with finding some really great books, keeping track of what I read has benefits, especially when people ask me for book recommendations for those age groups. The more MG and YA fiction I read, the more I realize how much I enjoy it. The stories are faster paced and usually always emotionally satisfying. There are so many good children's writers, I never feel that I'm missing something by not reading more books for adults.

The biggest problem I have is when other adults ask what I'm reading or look at me funny when they see I'm reading a "children's book". I usually mumble something and quickly change the subject, as though there's something wrong with what I'm reading, when in fact, these are some of the best books I've ever read. This year, I'm going to work on being less self-conscious and start verbalizing more about why I'm reading the book and why I'm enjoying it.

In case you were wondering, I do read some books written for adults too -- mysteries, chick lit, The Night Circus, cookbooks, nonfiction about health and food, and now, books that I can get on my Kindle (it hasn't replaced what I read in paper, just provided another way for me to find books to read).

What do you say when another adult asks you about the children's book you're reading? Any advice?


  1. I know what you mean! Most of my friends know I write so it's not that bad. I have the Night Circus on my pile and I can't wait to have time to dig into it.

  2. I've never had anyone ask me why I read MG or YA. Maybe that's because I don't read in public. But still, when I'm at the library, recommending MG books I've read, they don't even blink. (Maybe they just aren't surprised that I'm odd. LOL)

    The only advice I have is read what you like and pbbthbt (that's me blowing raspberries) for people who have a problem with your reading choices. If they can't experience the joy of reading across all age ranges, it's their loss.

  3. It doesn't bother me when people ask. (My family sometimes playfully teases me about never reading "grown up" books, though.) I usually just tell strangers that I write for kids so MG and YA is a job requirement. :-) Many times, parents will start talking to me about the books their kids are reading and ask my opinion or for reading suggestions. So that's pretty cool.

  4. I've heard good things about Night Circus.

    I LOVE reading YA novels. I'm trying to expand back to adult novels, but there are too many YA novels I want to read. Sigh.

  5. I'm the same as you - my reading is heavily weighted toward MG and YA - though more YA than MG. When people ask I have the same problem and usually qualify my choices by the fact that I write for children and need to keep abreast of what's working in the field. But honestly, I shouldn't feel like I have to qualify it, should I? The MG and YA books I read are excellent as a general rule - like you say, great stories that are emotionally fulfilling.

  6. I recommend YA books to adults, but I feel like I have to put in a disclaimer. "Well, this is a YA book, but since you like historicals, I think you'll enjoy it. It's very well-written." And sometimes adults surprise me by saying, "Oh, I love YA books!" But, you know, sometimes they look at me like there's a monkey on my head.

    I mostly read YA and MG, but when I feel like I'm on a bad luck run and haven't hit a good one in while, I read adult horror for the total change. Right now, I'm loving Bentley Little's horror novels.

  7. Ugh, this is me exactly. I LOVE YA books, probably more than adult books. But I get those exact same looks when I tell others.
    The truth is, I read YA because I like a great love story that's clean, but still gets me weak in the knees. I also like reading this age, the newness of what the characters experience is so exciting to me.
    As for telling others without turning red in the face, I haven't figured that one out yet. I will be interested to see what other people say:)

  8. I'm actually recommending a lot of older MG and YA to adults both men and women. I helped a ton of people with their christmas lists. I think adults enjoy great adventures and dramas that aren't drenched in language sex and violence...although the YA I recommend does have a bit a violence.

    I think story sells more to adults than genre. But the people I talk to about it know I want to publish in MG, so they know I won't give them a look for wanting the new Rangers Apprentice.

  9. My friends who know that I write aren't surprised to see me read YA or MG. Other adults though, yes they give that look. :(
    Usually I try to explain a little but as soon as I see they're not interested I just change the topic. Let me know if you find a trick that works because it seems they don't get it if they don't know what it is like to read those books.
    I haven't touched an adult book in a year though...*hides in shame*

  10. Ha, ha. This is why I love reading on my e-reader because now people don't know now! I used to be embarrassed and take off the book jacket but honestly, I really do like reading kid/YA more than adult.

    The only other things I read are non-fiction and craft books. :)

  11. Yes! I agree too. It's hard to read adult books now because they are so much slower.


I love to hear your responses and thoughts! Your comments will appear after moderation (I’ve decided to enable moderation due to excessive spam).