Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic recently wrote a great article about how texts for children (particularly the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary) can be well-written and valuable at many stages in life. Please read it! She mentions in particular that books for young adults and children can be of especial use to parents (and by extension, I would say anyone who works with youth) in remembering past experiences and relating to today’s child.
With all the worries we have as adults, it’s natural to look at childhood as idyllic and worry-free and it’s far too easy to forget how hard it is to be a kid. True, child worries about a prized ribbon being cut in half don’t measure up to adult anxieties about job security or rent increases, but that doesn’t make them any less valid or real.
It’s true that Beverly Cleary is classified as juvenile fiction rather than young adult, but if you think for one second that I don’t seek out the young adult books that exemplified my teenage condition and will put me back in direct emotional touch with it once my kids reach that age, you’re crazy. Any parent would welcome that emotional blueprint.