1. Many values of children's literature can be cited, but the most precious benefit is the delight and sense of involvement good literature affords boys and girls.
I generally open my discussion of why we use real books with kids with the reason that it is FUN. However, I have backed off the use of FUN because it becomes a disparaging remark for those who view contemporary books dismissively. I prefer the word DELIGHT and the additional reference to the INVOLVEMENT. I had never really considered this aspect, but one of the features of authentic literature is that readers find it easier to become pulled in to the story. They step inside and become lost in the book. Other theorists have labeled this as "unconscious delight." It is certainly a state of being for me when I open a book and step inside.
Unconscious delight is something I experience readily. But I wonder if some readers do not have the chance to fall into a book and lose themselves to the world of the story. How many have sailed with Max to where the Wild Thins are? How many have painted a chair with Peter or sacrificed a precious doll like She-Who-Is-Alone? How many have screamed MANCHEE along with Todd? How many have worried what will happen to Jack when the Pagodas seek revenge? How many have had history come to life in the pages of a book by Susan Campbell Bartlett or Steve Sheinkin or M.T. Anderson? How many have nodded in recognition of the "brown girl dreaming" or shuddered when Jerry Renault faces Archie, Emil, and Leon?
There are more values to come, but this is the place to begin. Let us share DELIGHT with our students.