Do you remember the series of exquisite photo-journals by Jill Krementz that came out in the 70’s? I had the skater and dancer books about real girls dedicating themselves to their sports. Ambitious, athletic girls that pushed themselves to achieve something out of the ordinary.
The children’s book world would really benefit from a resurgence of non-fiction, photo-filled books like those seen in “The Very Young,” book series. A new generation of like-minded books wouldn’t need to be big hardbound things either, like in days of yore. They could be inexpensive soft-cover floppies, bought in sets, so that you could survey a bunch of different sports and activities. Softcover books sometimes hold up better anyway, since there isn’t a loose paper jacket to rip.
The important thing is that kids have exposure to a wide variety of media depicting people positively engaged in some activity. How about, “A Very Young Skateboarder,” or “Parkour for the Very Young,” or, maybe, “A Very Young Game Programmer”?
I think books like Ms.Krementz’ classics and the hypothetical titles I just listed, might offer young readers inspiration, rather than mere diversion, which is most of what’s on offer today.
Update: Mind blown! There were many more book titles in the series that continued in to the 80’s and 90’s than I ever knew. A Very Young Actress. A Very Young Circus Performer. They even came out in paperbacks. So cool.