Because of the books I write/have written/will continue to write, I mentally revisit this Matt de la Peña in my mind again and again. I feel like it's even more pertinent now. Especially these quotes:
"The feedback our publisher received was that the moment was a little too heavy for children. And it might make parents uncomfortable ... Maybe instead of anxiously trying to protect our children from every little hurt and heartache, our job is to simply support them through such experiences. To talk to them. To hold them ... There’s a power to seeing this largely unspoken part of our interior lives represented...And for those who’ve yet to experience that kind of sadness, I can’t think of a safer place to explore complex emotions for the first time than inside the pages of a book, while sitting in the lap of a loved one."
We're living in a dark time, and some might say that's not the time for heavy books.
Especially not for children.
But even in less dark times, people will say the same thing.
When is it the time for the heavy books that help children see themselves? To know they aren't alone?
As a mother of two boys under the age of 13, I guarantee you no happy/funny/pollyanna book is going to hide the reality of what they are living through from them.
The reality of what *we* are living through.
Seeing people around them act like everything is normal and fine and cheerful makes them feel like there's something wrong with them when they don't feel that way.
It makes them feel alone.
Does every child benefit from reading heavier themed books at any given time?
But nor does every child benefit from reading happy-go-lucky-pie-in-the-sky books when they personally need something else.
And that's who I write for.
They might be considered a "small silent minority."
There might be any number of gatekeepers put in my way.
But I will keep writing for them. Because I see them and I know them, because they are also who I was at their age.