i am in love with a man whose name i cannot pronounce.

by marjorieingall on December 16, 2009

No, I can say “Steuer.” (Silly Germans. Vowels are for using in moderation!)

I mean Jon Scieszka, our nation’s outgoing Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Just read this and this. OMG, I love him. So many people are so pretentious about children’s books. SHUT UP. Listen to an actual American Ambassador of this, people! I think adults often think secretly that if you don’t suffer while reading, the book must not be Good. Or Important. That’s their prerogative, and hey, if you want to carry around giant honking somber tomes that you never actually get beyond page 3 of, rock on with your bad heavy tome-lugging self. But when you’re dealing with kids, especially reluctant readers, I will go to there: You are WRONG. I ascribe to the gateway drug theory. If a kid isn’t into books, and you find something that resonates with him, that’s the taste that could get him hooked. Give him more funny, more non-fiction, more graphic novels. You can find good books in all those categories. Insisting that your kid read ONLY classics, or demanding that she love what you loved as a kid…that way misery lies.

I was predisposed to hate Jon Scieszka, not just because I cannot speak or spell his name, but because when I married Jonathan he possessed three (3) copies of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. (Once upon a time Jonathan’s nickname was Cheezeman, because he hailed from Wisconsin. So people kept giving him that book. Now his nickname has evolved into Dr. Cheeze and we’ve stopped getting inundated. Yay, doctorate, preventing us from getting more farshtunkiner redundant copies.) I didn’t read the damn book for years, and also I thought of Scieszka as a guy who writes for boys, so, y’know, whatever. But he is funny! The Stinky Cheese Man is funny!

So. There is room in my heart for both Dr Cheeze and the Stinky Cheese author/ambassador of awesome. Anyone who encourages kids to read and uptight parents to relax is aces in my book.

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