What Kids Like

I asked a class of grade threes what their favourite kinds of books are.

As individuals with their own developed interests and personalities, their answers varied but I was looking for common themes. Several indicated they liked the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books, which I am familiar with but haven’t completely read. I know he illustrates the stories, which is exactly what I would like to do. When asked why they liked this series, the kids said because they are so funny. This made a few remember that they like to read joke books too, which I have always been a fan of puns, and could certainly work some jokes into my writing. Why was the teacher wearing sunglasses in the classroom? Her students were very bright!

More than one said they like to read spooky stories, mentioning R. L. Stine and the “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” books. I loved both when I was young! These are my kind of kids, I thought. They probably also love Halloween as much as I do. One boy interrupted during this part of the discussion to say he did not like scary stories. Well, that’s why we have so many kinds of books to choose from, I said. The illustrations from the “Scary Stories” books still stand out in my mind. This too could be a format for me to illustrate my writing.

Some said they liked books based from video games, and in particular, Mine Craft. I asked if it was because they liked building, and finding and joining the resources to make things. The creative side that I am attracted to. No, they just like playing Mine Craft. I probably won’t be putting any video game inspired books on the market.

Most of the children agreed they liked reading books that had pictures, and if it was a chapter book they like it better when the chapters aren’t so long. I have to say I do too, when the chapters are short you feel like you are accomplishing more, if they are really long you start flipping through the pages to see how much is left before the next chapter break.

One kid likes reading books about rocks and minerals. I admitted I did too, and that I also collect those things. I wonder if he was into the strictly scientific side or the metaphysical properties as well? I didn’t ask. It made me want to write fantasy based on special gems and crystals that give the characters magical powers.

They started getting fidgety and I wrapped up the discussion. Someone was making fart sounds and I asked if they like books about farts? Uproarious laughter. I decided to tell a funny story about diarrhea, because the mood was right and I wanted to see their reaction. Hopefully no one complains to their parents and I get called to the principal’s office to explain why I thought a story about diarrhea was appropriate for the Community Circle.

“Has anyone here heard of diabetes? Yes, my dad has it too. It’s a serious condition that you have to check your blood and take medicine or you can get really sick. I think we all know what diarrhea is. (Pause for laughter) This is a true story. A few weeks ago this girl comes up to me and says, Teacher, I have diabetea. What? Do you mean diabetes? When you check your blood sugar and stuff? Or do you mean… when you…. are pooping a lot? (Laughter) She says, I mean the kind where my poop is all melty! Oh! You mean diarrhea, not diabetea! She says, ya, I get those two mixed up all the time. (They totally thought this was comedy gold even though it doesn’t seem as funny now that I’m typing it.)

The kids were all laughing so hard. Maybe it’s because you are not really supposed to talk about bathroom words at school? Or it was kind of shocking to hear a grown-ass woman making poop jokes?

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