Why I (Still) Read Kids’ Books
By Rusty Fischer, author of Detention of the Living Dead
I always love it when a new book comes out because I get to take all I’ve done in the past year and start blogging about it for guest posts! So, this time around, I wanted to talk about something I don’t normally talk about, or readily admit to a ton of folks — Why I (Still) Read Kids’ Books:
So, the holidays are here. Halloween has come and gone, Thanksgiving is nearly upon us and, soon enough, Christmas will be here before you know it.
For me, the holidays are a time of quiet reflection. Yes, I’m thankful for my blessings and appreciative of my good fortune in life, my wife and our family and home, hearth, food and shelter. But what I generally reflect on is the past, in general, and my past, in particular.
In answering an interview question for this blog tour, one of the questions was: “What book is on your nightstand right now?” I had to smile, because at that moment, the book on my nightstand was The Best Halloween Ever by Barbara Robinson. And right under that was a Goosebumps book, and beneath that was a Junie B. Jones book and beneath that was a picture book called The Night Before Halloween!
Hardly the library you’d expect of a YA zombie author, but them’s the facts. And the question made me wonder, why am I so attracted to kids’ books around this time of year?
And I think the answer is a pretty simple one: they straight up just make me happy. Thinking of my childhood, the holidays rolling around, time off from school, the house smelling of Mom’s pecan pie or pumpkin pie or sugar cookies we’d get to ice later, me in my room, a library book in my hand, usually something by Judy Blume or Beverly Cleary, me in another world of Superfudge or Dear Mr. Henshaw, smiling, those were good times. Happy times. And I was never happier than when reading a good (kids’) book.
So now, when the holidays roll back around, you can usually find me, cup of pumpkin spice latte in hand, roaming around the kids’ section of my favorite bookstore, looking for a new “score.” It could be an old book, something I’ve read years ago and am suddenly rediscovering, like an old Goosebumps classic or The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything. It could be something new, like the Henry Winkler book I just discovered, “My Dog’s a Scaredy Cat: A Halloween Tail.”
I read about classrooms and teachers, laugh at Junie B. Jones and her kindergarten antics, smile at field trips and bulletin boards and remember the chubby little kid sitting there in his room, waiting for the pumpkin pie to be done, whiling away his holiday break with a stack of library books and smile.
And isn’t that what reading is all about? Smiling? Even when I’m reading, or lately, writing a pretty gory, scary zombie book, I’m still smiling. And I hope my readers are, too!!!
Yours in YA,
Maxine “Max” Compton is in detention when the outbreak starts; so are several other students when Max’s best friend Brie storms in – chomping on the thigh bone of their favorite Home Ec teacher, Ms. Watkins!
Brie is a zombie, and quickly starts biting everyone in the room – even her best friend, Max!
When the class realizes what happens, it’s too late; they are all zombies – and they’re no longer alone.
Now a thin gray man in a white lab coat is testing them; making them read, and once they can no longer read, the zombies are led from the room, never to be seen again.
One by one the zombies stop reading, all but a few of them, Max included. Oh, and that cute thug she’s been crushing on for years, Cory Winthrop!
That’s when Max learns that there are good zombies, and bad zombies. And if she’s to survive, she has to pick a side.
Who knew Detention could be this hard… or last forever?
Buy Link: Amazon
“G-g-g,” the zombie sputters, black eyes focused intently on the page in front of her, tongue tied in an endless loop, frustration oozing out of every gray, decaying pore.
If she could still sweat, I know she would.
Her cold white hands grip the pages of the comic book like the edges of a life raft in a wild, raging sea.
If she could still cry, she’d already be bawling.
Instead she is locked in this endless loop, stammering, yammering, trying to find the keys to her lost humanity.
Her voice is raspy, like maybe her vocal chords have been sanded down, blow dried for days, and now look like strips of beef jerky hanging in the back of her throat, useless at his point except for her guttural scratching.
It’s been like this for five minutes; five endless, torturous, agonizing minutes.
Endless because, well, you’ve never realized how long a single minute—sixty short seconds—can stretch out until every stinking bleeding one of those sixty seconds is filled with a “G-G-G” or an “A-A-A or an “M-M-M.”
It’s like waiting for a stutterer to finish reading War & Peace, out loud, in one sitting, while you kneel on a bed of nails, with water dripping on your head, sitting next to your distant cousin from Alabama, with her whispering in your ears about her favorite catfish casserole recipe.
Torturous because I can see the word right in front of me and just want to finish it for her: “Gamma!” I want to scream. “Gamma! What you’ve been yammering for the last five minutes is ‘G-G-G-G-GAMMA,’ you freakin’ moron!”
Agonizing because this is no typical zombie; this is my best friend since third grade, Brie Cunningham.
About the Author
Rusty Fischer is the author of Zombies Don’t Cry, as well as several other popular zombie books, including Panty Raid at Zombie High, Detention of the Living Dead and the Reanimated Readz series of 99-cent living dead shorts.
Rusty runs the popular website Zombies Don’t Blog @ www.zombiesdontblog.blogspot.com. At Zombies Don’t Blog you can read more about Rusty’s work, view his upcoming book covers and read – or download – completely FREE books & stories about… zombies!