So what would she think of me? I write and read middle-grade novels and picture books.
The answer is that I don't care. Someone more brilliant has said what I think:
This isn't exactly true of me. When I was ten, I read fairy tales and I wasn't ashamed. But when I was thirty, I saw adults reading Harry Potter, and I thought they should be.
“When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
― C.S. Lewis
Then I read it too.
That was a doorway for me back to middle-grade books, which is what I began to write. It was also the doorway to fantasy novels -- middle-grade, YA, and adult -- that I had never read before.
And fantasy was something I'd been missing since I was ten. And yes, it's escapist. I read Harry Potter because it helped me escape a troubling time -- I could retell the stories to myself during the Hour of the Wolf, when I used to lie awake, toss, turn, and worry. At last I could sleep and dream of a life that wasn't mine.
But now fantasy reading is not just escapist. It teaches me about my life and those of others. Without conforming to the physics of the known world, it teaches me about it. If that level of the metaphysical isn't something that literary fiction readers can handle, maybe they should try more fantasy.
Then if they don't like it, that's OK. The writer of that think piece should read what she likes and loves, and so will I.
No shame in reading.
About Kell Andrews: Kell Andrews writes picture books and middle grade novels. Deadwood, her middle-grade contemporary fantasy about a cursed tree, comes out from Spencer Hill Middle Grade June 24, 2014.