Read Kids’ Books!

On a severely underrated genre

When I was a kid – and albeit still today -I loved dragons. A hyper intelligent, kind, magical, flying creature? Literal dream life. I read so many book series about such fun versions of dragons. Some were even made of clay and created by the familial love between a mother, daughter, and their tenant, which brings me to the topic of this wonderful week. You should read chapter books that were written for kids. Animorphs, Goosebumps, Artemis Fowl, A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Last Dragon Chronicles, The Unwanteds, etc. – I’m sure you can think of even more series that fall under this category that you love. Why not go reread them? 

The Eternity Code, the third book in Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series. Photo by Marie Sayler.

These books are all readily available at your local public library where you can go and read books for free. They exist to be archives for the public’s disposal, plus getting a library card is super easy and they help you through the process as much as possible. Go to your library! They love it and I can pretty much guarantee they have your favorite series AND a place for you to curl up and read them. You can bring food and drinks, it’s a quiet safe place, there’s a lot of natural light, and librarians are some of the kindest people you will ever meet. They know the name of the series you know nothing about other than a vague plot and the memory of reading them as a child. Your library also hosts tons of events that fulfill practically every hobby, they release calendars of fun stuff all the time. I’ve learned tons of stuff from library programs, but the things that come to my head first are how to give a handshake and bookbinding. Two interesting things to learn, and they were free! Just check it out; the Fargo Public Library has tons of books and a lovely layout. 

I think the best part about this idea is that reading these sorts of books is extremely satisfying and easy. These books are shorter by nature but still have complete stories because of the amount of books in a series. It’s like reading a super long book section by section. Or reading a series of stories set in a specific world in an anthology sort of way, like how in Goosebumps the kids are mostly from the same world and sometimes run into each other. That would be a really messed up world to live in. But you know what that really messed up world means? A low consequence divulsion into a bit of a classic “curiosity killed the cat” moment. Who wouldn’t want to read stuff about a kid who goes to a fake city inside a warehouse and has to escape enormous robotic bugs and monsters? It means that sometimes kids get sucked into a miniature town on the whim of a demented wax mayor who wields magical powers far beyond just making people small. What a delightful place to read about. And the great part is that even in these stories, the main characters usually get away scot-free. So you don’t even have to worry about how the kids are doing; it’s fine most of the time.

It’s great for a quick and easy win. The books are generally 50-100 pages long even though the type-size and the language makes it feel short, so when you finish you can look at the size of the book and feel satisfied. It’s a win-win situation. On Thursday last week I spent 5 hours reading a book called Time Cat and I hardly noticed. It was separated into 9 distinct parts that represented different time periods they traveled to. They were all short, the words small-ish, and the stories fun and interesting. Jason, the child, and Gareth, the cat, traveled to Ancient Egypt where they taught a pharaoh to not be mean and controlling of his subjects, Ancient Rome to teach the British how to survive the rain (Honestly, that one was funny, the Romans were laughing and having fun and then the British attacked and abducted a cat and a child. Then Jason and Gareth taught the British how to farm and patch roofs and how to be nice. Very funny situation, also very accurate for the British.), and 7 other time periods where they had fantastic simple adventures with cute plots that tie up nicely every time. 

The characters in these books have to work out their issues quickly. They all have some secret skill to solve their problems efficiently and in a way that progresses the story. Now, this may be because it’s a super quick way to force characters into a place that progresses the plot really quickly and with a small number of variables in dialogue. By that I mean that these scenes generally follow the same primary components. Introduction/Reinforcement of a wise character, talking about the issue from a new-ish perspective, and a call to action. It’s fun, simple, and the fact that the structure is what keeps it together means the characters and conflicts are constantly changing. As it turns out, books love plots and when the plots are made to exist in a shorter format they are quicker. 

A final fantastic reason to read these books and carry them around with you is that they work to keep your mental focus game up. It’s a low level thing to do but it’s a nice way to work myself back up to a highly focused version of myself. Reading is something that I don’t have to do on my phone. It forces you to dedicate time to one story instead of watching clips, and – probably the best thing ever – THERE ARE NO ADS!!!!!! It’s so nuts to breathe knowing you have a form of media that companies can’t frack your identity from. They can’t follow the groups of books you read unless you actively work to put that information online. Which is something you can do. But you don’t have to. Instead of Goodreads, write about the book in a journal. Instead of buying books off of Amazon and other online giants, go out to your local bookstores and libraries, go to Barnes and Noble in person and pick out your book by hand. 

That’s right, this whole article was old-fashioned liberal arts propaganda. Tik Tok is evil and hurts your brain. It just does. You shouldn’t have access to that much stimuli at that easy of a reach. The first phone with a screen came out in 1992; that’s not even 50 years ago. Technology is advancing way faster than we are. We haven’t changed nearly enough from the people who haven’t always had access to little devil boxes that are funded and used by companies that want to force you into consuming everything they sell. According to, the average person sees 10,000 people a day and the US spends roughly $340 billion dollars a year on advertising. Lovely.

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