I love to read children’s books. And yes this is a typical statement for me or any librarian to make, but the truth is I was reading them long before I had an excuse. Eventually I realized the true power of my Master’s degree. Now I have the perfect excuse to be crazy in my book selections because apparently that’s my job as a librarian. “Librarian” apparently is that a magic word that makes it okay for me to be single and childless and still reading picture books about Batman or chickens. Or Batman dealing with chickens. Or a chicken who seeks justice for her coop by dressing up as Batman… although that would be weird.
Anyway, it almost goes without saying that I read everything I want to read now including the most amazingly adorable easy readers and very short chapter books about superheroes. I especially love books that are meant to build up a kid’s confidence by letting them connect a Marvel and/or a DC comic book character. And these books all tend to explain said characters in relatable terms without pretention and without the addition of too many bells, whistles, angsty vibes, or irritatingly pointless character deaths.
In fact, characterization tends to remain consistent for superheroes and villains when it comes to fiction geared towards the younger crowd. Unfortunately, this means Wolverine will be grumpy and curse in a series of %$#@#s instead of actual letters, but he also won’t spontaneously forget his own origin story for the umpteenth time only to find out he’s two hundred years old either. Maybe that’s the real reason I enjoy the more light-hearted approach that gets taken for books geared towards kids and pre-teens.
Now in terms of the kids themselves, I’ve heard the odd complaint from parents since some of them don’t seem to think graphic novels or even books about superheroes “count” as reading. Which always forces me to supress a very heavy sigh because while these parents have the best of intentions, this attitude is probably why their kids don’t want to read. I mean if the choice is to play a Batman video game, watch a Batman tv show, or read some classics, most children will pick the Batman options so why not offer a Batman book? I’m also not sure why there’s this notion that reading can’t be fun and if it is then you’re doing it wrong. Reading should be super fun! Reading is awesome! And what could be more exciting than getting a kid to read, particularly kids who don’t like reading unless it’s Batman or Superman or Wonder Woman?
Amusingly enough, however, most of these parents are just tired of reading about Batman day in and day out and are at the point where just the pronoun Bruce is cause enough for them to twitch. Having worked at libraries with maybe one book about Batman, I can understand the plight of these parents. Which is why it is super awesome being a librarian because I can be their personal superhero by finding them some new books so they don’t end up hating Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman forever.
Lately I’ve managed to save both parents and children from a superhero-less fate and it’s all thanks to the awesomeness that is the DC Super Hero Series from Stone Arch, which is part of Capstone Publishing. It’s only lately that I’ve been taking some of the titles out for a test drive because it’s hard to keep the books in! But I have to take a gander every now and again because I am so pleased that in addition to Batman and Superman, Wonder Woman has her own line of books. As of February, there’s also a line of the Flash and the Green Lantern adventures too. Green Lantern’s titles are rapidly becoming my favorites though since they feature Sinestro and also –and awesomely enough– Saint Walker and the Blue Lantern Corps.
So basically if there’s a reluctant reader in your life who wants to be a superhero when he or she grows up, everyone owes it to them to let them read about Batman, Wolverine, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, or whoever else makes them happy. Because a superhero needs to be well-read and a reluctant reader is still a reader.
As for my own personal addiction? Well, I might end up reviewing reluctant readers in the near future and will be getting the gimlet eye from many a co-workers as I read them all. Ah well. Such is life.