We students of children’s literature are often called upon to consider what it means to be an adult reader of books for children.
The classic leading question we are often asked is whether or not we would be comfortable reading a picturebook in a bar.
The answer we adults are supposed to give is, “Oh my, of course, that would be strange! How weird it is for adults to enjoy children’s literature! The rest of the world must think us creepy.”
Me? I think
A) Um. Who cares.
B) Wait… picturebooks are actually almost inherently awesome works of art that regularly render me speechless with my lack of understanding of fine art! Why would I be ashamed of appreciating ART among other ADULTS?
C) Why am I reading in the bar anyway? If I wanted to read, I would buy a bottle of wine and put on more comfortable clothing…
We also occasionally talk about what books we had to read for class that we were embarrassed to whip out on the T. Again, I am so predictably oblivious that I didn’t notice I read a book with a naked person on the cover until I’d finished 50% of it on the 65 bus and 50% of it at a bar.
Today was somewhat notable. Today was the first day I felt inappropriate, under the microscope, like I shouldn’t be reading a YA book in public.
It’s for class! I promise!