i'm not dead, yet.

a reflection on the lithub article let the kids get weird: the adult problem with children's books.

first, if you have not read it, you can find the article here.

and if you don't have time, the main point can perhaps be summed up by this quote,

"to speak to a young audience the children’s author needs to find a way to beat back their own adultness."

now, i have a confession to make.

the first time i read i am alive to Olin, he was very quiet, ears perked. and as i clicked off the final page (it was the electronic draft), i braced for what he might say -

but mom, where is the part about being dead?


if you have not yet read it, there is a verse in the poem that reads, "if i'm alive right now, what happens when i'm not," but he was looking for something a little more blunt, better yet bloody.

my kids are fascinated with all gruesome things - pirates, battles, and death.

and if i think back, so was i. i shiver at the sight of blood now, but as a child i loved playing doctor. my friend and i once even attempted to recreate the dead body of Jesus Christ so that we could bury it, 'discover it,' and in turn become rich (in order to buy a slip n' slide). not totally PC, not totally logic, but wholeheartedly weird.

and the more i reflect on why kids (or at least mine) are so interested and unabashed by the concept of death, i think it is because they are truly living alive. and, perhaps, if you fully live alive, death becomes less scary. maybe even exciting?

and so while i am aware enough to recognize that i am alive falls on the side of a book written for kids by an adult mind,

ironically the crux of it is,

you [kids] know more about alive, than some of the most wise [i.e. most adults personas].

it is a poem of what i believe to be the simple truths of alive that with the growth of my ego and its many suitcases, i forgot along the way.

every day with Olin & Leo is a blessing to dig into my weird, to dive into curiosity. to play, to get tired, to play again.

that said, i am so proud of the message in i am alive . storytime is such a special time of night and the genesis of some of my favorite conversations with Olin and giggles with Leo. and for every few Dragons Love Tacos and Blue Hat, Green Hat, throwing in a story that prompts a deeper discussion with our children is a beautiful thing.

and, Simultaneously, i think there might need to be a sequel co-written with my children, i am not dead, yet - the misadventures of a peg-leg pirate.