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I'm author of The Snipesville Chronicles. I'm also a published academic historian, but don't hold that against me.Oh, and I'm a Brit. I just happen to live in Georgia.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Kids' Books ARE Boring. There, I've said it.

I ripped open the latest Amazon box yesterday, eagerly anticipating a book for kids on how to create their own museum.
Boy, was I disappointed.
Finger-wagging in tone, it was written in microtext, and had it been any drier, it would have shrivelled. There's no way my son will read it, and I'm not sure I will either.
Why are so many American kids' books boring? A huge part of the problem is the Appropriateness Police who include some vocal parents, teachers (rarely), publishers, and, more often than you might think, random adults who don't actually know any kids.
The fault also lies with authors who are determined to instruct, whether about facts or values, and instead come across as pious and pompous. No wonder kids have to be bribed with pizza parties and pig-kissing principals to get them to read...
Recently, I stumbled on this wonderful article by Martha Brockenbrough, who says it all better than I do, and who quotes the wise and wonderful Rick Riordan, whose hilarious Percy Jackson series will captivate your kids while hooking them on Greek mythology.
It is always good to be reminded that I'm not alone in my loud complaints about the soullessness of so many kids' books.


Martha Brockenbrough said...

Great post, Annette. For me, history was always boring until I became an adult and could choose my own books on the topic. I still have my high-school history text, though. I kept it for all the asides I wrote in the dry, dry text. They're totally hilarious. What if you wrote an annotated history, making fun of all the dull stuff?

Annette Laing said...

Martha, that's such a fantastic idea... I hate you. I need a clone to write the wretched thing, but...Ooh, I love it already. :-)