How Some Children’s Books Become Classics
Parents read them to their children, forming a powerful bond. Years later, those former children read these children’s picture books to their children, and the thread between generations is extended yet again.
“Children’s books live a long time because you always have children growing into them,” says Pat Scales, president of the Association for Library Service to Children and a retired school librarian. “And parents read [to their children] what was read to them.”
The making of a classic is a strange alchemy of skill — a good story, strong illustrations — and luck. It’s not easy to appeal to three audiences: publishers, parents and — oh, yes — children.
But what makes them classics? What makes them books that we continue to hold on to even after we have outgrown them? What makes them books our children start loving as we start rediscovering these books as we read them?
“If you think of all those stories, there’s a loving parent … allowing a transgressive kid a leash to investigate the world and come back,” she says. And through the child’s eyes, parents find their sense of wonder renewed, she adds.
You can read more about what makes a children’s book a success here.
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