The events yesterday in Connecticut were awful, horrifying, senseless. Those of you who follow me on twitter know that I worked with one of the people who lost his child in the attack and it was surreal at the office when picture after picture of him and his wife showed up on news websites or the TVs in the breakrooms. My heart breaks for his family and all of the families who have to deal with the aftermath. (And I am only going to say that I'm disgusted with the media who kept posting pictures of families in their most vulnerable moments. Shame on you new outlets- the sorrow could be captured without exploiting the families' grief. Ditto with interviewing children.)
But this post isn't about that, per se.
While listening to the news yesterday, they interviewed a teacher who said she locked herself and her students in the classroom closet and read to them to keep them calm.
I'm sure a lot of familiar books came out to comfort children across the world last night.
While I talk a lot about YA on this blog because that's what I love to read and write, this post is in praise of the picture book and chapter book writers. Writing kidlit is incredibly difficult and writing picture books in insanely hard (contrary to popular belief. I hold picture book writers in awe.) The critical praise, movie deals, front page press is not as common, at least not when compared to older genres. Very few picture book writers and illustrators are household names, beyond the "greats." And yet, when our kids need comfort, there's nothing more powerful than a worn pressboard cover and sticky pages.
Thank you for writing and illustrating these books, toiling over just the right word, the right flow, the right colors. Thank you for stories that sparked our imaginations and continue to spark imaginations for generations to come. Thank you for the first "big kid books" we read, the kind to sneak under the covers with a flashlight because "I can read now!"
Thank you for being a little light in a sometimes dark world.