Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming author Emlyn Chand, award-winning author of FARSIGHTED, TORN TOGETHER, and the BIRD BRAIN BOOKS series. She’ll be talking about the latter here, for parents and their kids. This guest post is part of a blog hop running at Evolved Publishing this week, in which you can not only discover new authors, but win some cool prizes, too.
DON’T TALK DOWN TO CHILDREN! SMART ENTERTAINMENT EQUALS SMART KIDS.
Think back to your childhood. What was it like? What did you enjoy doing for fun? I remember playing outside, collecting Pogs and Beanie Babies, watching cartoons, and reading—lots of reading. I loved Bunnicula, because it taught me big words and never apologized for that. I couldn’t get enough of The Babysitter’s Club, which illustrated that girls could be strong and, no, you were never too young to start your own business (and follow in Kristy’s footsteps I did when I opened Novel Publicity at the age of 26. BSC totally deserves some of that credit, thank you very much).
These childhood favorites have stuck with me through the years—I even continue to learn from them! But what do kids have nowadays?
Is it just me, or have books and television seriously been dumbed down? Our kids aren’t getting any stupider, are they? I don’t believe so. Of course, this problem isn’t only the curse of the younger generation. These little kiddies have moms who read Fifty Shades of Grey and watch Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives for entertainment. What’s going on?
Am I romanticizing my childhood, or has something seriously changed? Either way, I refuse to follow trend with this stuff and drivel that’s far too widespread for my liking. What’s wrong with a little intellectual entertainment?
Smart books and TV shows equal smart children!
Although I have yet to add the mommy feather to my cap of accomplishments, I’ve been thinking about this issue quite a lot lately.
It all started when I finally decided to pursue the publication of the children’s book I penned four years ago. My editor loved the story but questioned my decision to use words like mysteriously, investigation, or catastrophe. In the end, we decided to forge forth with the larger vocabulary words and let the chips fall where they may.
… And readers noticed in a positive way!
In fact, one reader said: “This is a smart book. The storyline is simple (it has to be, to keep things interesting and quick for young kids), but not simplistic. It has excellent higher-level vocabulary (quaint, gazed, zipped, shapely, fluttered, mysteriously, frantic, flitted, nestled-the list goes on and on). As a parent who is forever obsessed with expanding my kid’s vocabulary (which, at fourteen months, consists mostly of “doggie,” “kitty,” “up,” and “hi”-but we’re getting there) and exposing her to new words, this is essential. I loved that I, an adult, was able to read Honey the Hero without feeling cheated out of thinking. I kept imagining reading this story with my kids when they’re older, and pausing to explain what the new words meant, and how they could use them.”
And you know what? I’ve not heard a single complaint about the words being too big or challenging. There are plenty of books out there that stick to an easy vocabulary for three- to six-year-olds.
The Bird Brain Books are different, and if you ask me, they’re different in a good way.
Yes, I want to provide stories that can capture children’s interest, but it’s just as important to grow their minds as it is their imaginations. That’s why I will continue to use “big words,” make references to classic literature, and teach a lesson or two along the way—while always keeping the enjoyment factor number one.
What are some other “smart kids’ books” you’ve come across, and how have they been received by your little ones?
Don’t forget to stop by the Evolved Publishing pre-holiday blog hop. We’ve got 20 autographed books up for grabs! From thrilling young adult adventures to suspense nail-biters, thought-provoking literary novels, bright and cheery books for children, an uplifting memoir, and hot-and-steamy romance, we’ve got something for everyone on your holiday-shopping list.
About Davey the Detective
In Davey the Detective, the second of the BIRD BRAIN BOOKS, Davey dubs himself the luckiest crow in the entire world when he finds a wonderful, shiny object. It even has a fantastic name: “paperclip.” Wow!
One dark and dreary day, Davey’s treasure goes missing, and he is beside himself with grief. Luckily, he knows just how he can find out which of the forest animals is to blame for the theft. Inspired by the torn pages of a Sherlock Holmes story that were used to fashion his nest, Davey calls on the help of Sarah the sparrow to investigate the mystery and, hopefully, retrieve his prize.
Together the two birds begin to collect clues. Their trail leads them straight to Mr. Bushtail, a greedy squirrel who keeps a giant store of objects in a hollowed-out tree trunk. When Mr. Bushtail refuses to cooperate, the two birds have no choice but to break into his tree house in search of the truth.
Justice will prevail and treasure will be found in this intriguing tale of mystery.
About the Author
Emlyn Chand emerged from the womb with a fountain pen clutched in her left hand (true story). When she’s not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm Novel Publicity. Best known for her Young Adult novels, she is also developing a small, but devoted, following to her children’s book series and is beginning to dapple in other genres as well. Emlyn enjoys connecting with readers and is available via almost every social media site in existence. Visit EmlynChand.com for more info. Don’t forget to say “hi” to her sun conure Ducky!