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All About the Kid Lit, by Lisa Cain

This post is part of 805's “My Home Library” series that features writers and artists enjoying their home libraries during the pandemic and beyond.

A funny thing happened during the pandemic—and I know I’m not alone in this—I suddenly couldn’t read my usual literary loves. Too much tragedy in real life to read about it for entertainment. Dostoevsky and Wharton and even Franzen were more than my heart could handle. I needed a page turner and I needed it stat. So I raided by kids’ bookshelves and delved into some of the most enchanting kid lit, from the weird and impactful to good old fashioned fun.

There was the bizarre and compelling The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge, by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin. I laughed with glee as the elf Spurge is catapulted over the mountains to seemingly broker peace with the goblins, then watched in awe as the authors used this fantastical tale to help their readers consider how their own preconceived notions color their experiences.

On the realistic side, I delighted in The Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall, and the everyday adventures of their summer vacation.

Delving into my daughter’s penchant for dark fantasy, I stayed up late one night to read from Small Spaces, by Katherine Arden, cover to cover and then couldn’t sleep for being perfectly spooked.

In Midnight on Strange Street, by K.E. Ormsbee, I couldn’t wait to discover if this gang of kids really got their extrasensory powers from aliens. And the Scythe series by Neal Shusterman let me ponder a future where humanity has overcome death and disease, but abuse of power remains.

There were too many wonderful books to list, but other favorites include Wildwood, by Colin Meloy, Dealing with Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede, The Secret Keepers, by Trenton Lee Stewart, and Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card.

Next time you’re looking for a fantastic read, don’t forget to check your kid’s room.


As a communications consultant and freelance writer, Lisa Cain helps organizations tell their story. In addition to her freelance work, Lisa works at a toy store, where she gets to talk about games and children’s books all day long. As a new creative writer, Lisa explores memoir and creative nonfiction and is a member of the Thieves & Whores Literary Circle. She’s been rejected by some of the finest literary journals. After a childhood spent roaming the country, Lisa found her place in the world when she moved to Washington, D.C., where she lives with her husband and two children.


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