Thursday, February 13, 2014

Changing Times by Beryl Reichenberg



For those of us who grew up with Dick and Jane, Nancy Drew and the Three Little Pigs, reading children’s books today is fascinating.  In one sense, little has changed. There still is the big bad wolf in one guise or another. Nancy isn’t solving mysteries anymore, but there is a whole lineup of new detectives, who are. Dick and Jane stories have morphed into a multitude of early readers. Many of the story themes remain the same.  Good and evil still battling it out.  Lessons are learned, sometimes the hard way, and problems are eventually solved. It is as if the human spirit needs these reoccurring themes to make sense of the world.

Yet, children books of today are much more varied and sophisticated. There are stories about multi-cultural and multi-racial families.  New super heroes like Ninja Turtles and Warrior Cats have emerged, righting the wrongs of the world. There is an invasion of rhyming books thanks to Dr. Seuss. Disney and Star Wars characters abound with Harry Potter not far behind. With all these characters and books comes a host of toys and games. And let's not forget the flood of summer movie.

Where once we had only a few cherished books to choose from, the bookstores are packed with brightly covered books and engaging images. There are puzzle books, board books, interactive books, 3D books, popup books with moving parts and, of course, electronic books for children.  While many of the story lines and themes remain the same, the characters, the settings and the way modern books are produced have changed with many more choices and voices. For a children’s book author it can be difficult to catch a ride on these latest trends, while still producing a story that is unique and worthwhile.

Still,  it’s nice to pick up and read a Nancy Drew or Peter Rabbit book again, just for old times stake. And, hopefully, these books will never go out of style.



Bio: I am an artist and story teller, living on the Central California Coast in San Luis Obispo.  During the last seven years, I have written and illustrated children books.  I have five books published by Oak Tree Press and some additional books published elsewhere.

Before I came to San Luis Obispo, I taught school and lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. I hold a Master's Degree from UCLA.

Traveling extensively throughout the world including countries in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, South America and Asia, I have taken many photographs that I use in my art work and books.  These travels have given me a broader understanding of the world and other cultures and have been an inspiration for many of my children’s stories.  Other story ideas come from my contact with children, who are a never ending source of delight.


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