When people ask me, “Hey what’s a good book for little ones to help them understand death?” I always, always, always recommend Frances Yansky‘s Bug Cemetery (Henry Holt, 2002). It is one of those brilliant books that gets to the heart of the moment with out being preachy or teachy or issue-laden. I also love that Frances woke up in the middle of the night to write it down. It is a gift of a story. Thankfully, it was given to Frances to tell.
When I asked Frances what quote bolsters her as a writer, she recalled something that Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote called, “Why I Write for Children.”
“There are five hundred reasons why I began to write for children, but to save time I will mention only ten of them.
Number 1. Children read books, not reviews. They don’t give a hoot about the critics.
Number 2. Children’ don’t read to find their identity.
Number 3. They don’t read to free themselves of guilt, to quench their thirst for rebellion, or to get rid of alienation.
Number 4. They have no use for psychology.
Number 5. They detest sociology.
Number 6. They don’t try to understand Kafka or Finnegan’s Wake.
Number 7. They still believe in God, the family, angels, devils, witches, goblins, logic, clarity, punctuation, and other such obsolete stuff.
Number 8. They love interesting stories, not commentaries, guides, or footnotes.
Number 9. When a book is boring, they yawn openly, without any shame or fear of authority.
Number 10. They don’t expect their beloved writer to redeem humanity. Young as they are, they know that is not in his power. Only the adults have such childish illusions.”
Thank you, Frances.