The joy of reading children’s books aged 40
“Mummy, can you read me a book?” Hell yeah! When you have a child there’s no better joy than reading them a story.
Yes, you have to start with the basic ‘few words on a page’ sort of books. “Oh look, dog, cat, cow…” And yes, you do have to read the same book again and again, even though it’s that book you didn’t choose, and some horrible relative thought your little one would love. Shoot me now!
But once your little ones have reached the age of sitting still and having proper books read to them, wow, it’s magical. Even when you experience a massive case of dry throat after reading an entire 300 page novel aloud to them in one sitting. Phew!
We learn so much about life through the books we read as a child – the difference between good and bad, life and death, and even how relationships work. And these ideas are always portrayed in a beautifully clear and simple way.
But as we get older our imagination starts to fade. What was once full of so many possibilities now needs extra explanation. So we start to fill in the gaps. Start asking questions. We become more serious.
As a copywriter I’ve found re-visiting children’s books a wonderfully entertaining exercise. My writing has taken on a more energetic rhythm. Rather than spelling out information to the audience, I drip-feed it. Allowing the reader time to digest and add their own thoughts. Helping to take them from what the product or service is, to why they need it in their life, to how it’ll help them and finally what to do next.
Sounds obvious, but believe me it’s not. We’re overwhelmed with copy that tells the audience nothing. It’s just a list of words that talks about the product rather than the benefits. Yawn!
So, here’s my advice. Full your mind with endless possibilities and make the brands you write for stand out from the rest by picking up a children’s book. There’s no age limit to joy.
And not only could this potentially improve the flow and rhythm of your writing, a little spark of imagination and word play could creep into your carefully crafted copy along the way.
Authors to consider:
Dr Seuss – Energizing, innovative, repetitive (in a good way) and wacky sentence structures.
Roadl Dahl – Descriptions you can reach out and touch, lots of sound words, interesting adjectives and humorous poems.
Kes Grey (Oi Frog! series) – Fun rhyming stories that end with a wickedly fun twist.
Enid Blyton (The Faraway Tree Collection) – Simple story telling that encapsulates minds, fuels imagination and sweeps you up on an adventure.
Lewis Carroll – The term portmanteau was first used by Carroll. “Well, 'slithy' means ‘lithe and slimy’ and 'mimsy' is ‘flimsy and miserable’.
Oliver Jeffers – Thoughtful, reflective and charming speech.
A. A. Milne (Winnie the pooh) – Subtle humour, breaking rules and creating endless proper nouns out of ordinary words. Also watch out for word play and skilful dialogue.
J. K. Rowling (Harry Potter series) – Narrative led. Whimsical with lots of irony and good flow.
What books have you rediscovered?