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Kids Books are People Too!

Let me begin by saying, I LOVE “the classics.” In high school, I made it my personal mission to read them when I realized my teachers weren’t going to make me. I read books like Anna Karenina, Les Miserables, and Crime and Punishment, for fun. I majored in English, because I love reading the ideas of writers who lived centuries before I did and still dealt with the same crud as I did in the 21st century. The Classics have value beyond any words I can think of at the moment. They remind us of a time that was simpler — a time untouched by technology and photoshop and artificial flavoring (yes, you wonderful Pumpkin Spice Lattes, I’m talking to you).


Jane Austen is not for everyone. Leo Tolstoy is not for everyone. Fyodor Dostoevsky is definitely not for everyone.

If we —  parents, teachers, miscellaneous role models — tell ourselves that the only way our readers will become “good readers” is to read books written in 1863 by dead (and usually white) people (usually men), we will be doing them an incredible disservice. 

Here’s why.

Every reader goes looking for themselves in the things they read.  Have you ever met a reader who will flat out refuse a book because the main character is younger than them? You haven’t? Hi, I Was That Kid, nice to meet you! What readers like me were (and are) looking for was not a character that was just like us. We wanted to be able to relate to the character, yes, but if they were too much like us, it felt like our stories were set. Scripted. Unchangeable. IF, however, the characters were even just a year ahead of where we were, we could see ourselves one year in the future, and we could find hope.

What “kids books” fail to get credit for is that they teach readers to HOPE.

Harry Potter? What kid doesn’t end up hoping they could have the strength in them to defend the people they love and defeat the dark lord? Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Who reads those books and doesn’t wish they had the guts to stand up to the school bully or their big brother? the Farting Dog? No kid can sit through this story and not end up having a good laugh and a sense of pride in the things that make them different?

The Classics are “classic” for a reason: Over the decades, thousands of readers have walked through stories about pain and love and overcoming incredible loss or celebrating unexpected success. Those are all good things! If you have a kid who really stinking loves Jane Eyre, that’s amazing. Please give that child a cookie. And if you have a kid who would rather read Pride, Prejudice and Zombies? Awesome – also give that child a cookie.

If we’re going to tell our kids how valuable reading is, we have to allow them to find the stories that have value according to them, not just to us. Does that mean we let 8-year-olds read slasher horror stories because they say they “value” the blood and guts on the cover? Of course not! That’s insane.

What it means is that we don’t scrunch our noses and screw up our faces when our kids walk up to us with a graphic novel instead of a chapter book, or when they choose Juliet Takes a Breath over Romeo and Juliet. We help our kids by giving them a healthy bit of space to explore the stories available to them. We give them permission to discover what they believe has value.

Spoiler Alert: This isn’t just about books.

Did you notice before that I said, “Every reader goes looking for themselves in the things they read?” If you spend much time around teenagers, you know that they take in new content every time they open their phones: Snapchat stories about which half-dressed celebrity did what, Instagram posts of teens that look a lot more like Greek gods than actual people, and songs describing the “perfect” night like it happens every weekend. 

It’s not that teens don’t understand that the images in front of them are 100% staged (they do) or that they think the person in their feed with nine hundred “likes” has the perfect life (they don’t). What they do see, is the possibility that somehow, someday their life could be as amazing as the ones projected in front of them. They want to believe that this happy, exciting, and satisfying life is within their reach.

What can we do to show them that their hope is closer than they think?

To start, we can show them the same kindness and respect that we expect them to show us. One of the simplest ways to do this? Ask. Them. Questions. Part of chasing hope is chasing the idea that what we want and what we think will actually matter to someone. By asking the kids in our lives what is important to them and why we show them that their thoughts, their dreams, and their hope matters to us. 

And yeah, that means ignoring the fact that you might think Fortnite is the dumbest game in human history and asking your kid what it is that they like so much about it. Yeah, that means keeping your sarcastic comment about the disgusting amount of lipstick that YouTuber is wearing to yourself and asking what the videos are really about. 

I guarantee that if you take the time to ask these things, you will be amazed by the amount of thought your kids have put into these things they watch. You might even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of hope in their eyes as they share those thoughts with you. 

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Introducing the Writer and Her Purpose

My name is Hannah, and I am absolutely in love with the art (and dare I say, magic) of storytelling, specifically as it’s done in books

That’s why I majored in English at Iowa State University and graduated with a license to teach Engligh Language Arts and English as a Second Language to kiddos grades 5-12. During my time in college and teaching in middle school and high school classrooms, my love for children’s literature grew and grew until all I wanted to do was curl up by a nice fire and become a professional reader. Sadly, those jobs are hard to come by and have a real intense interview process. So, I did the next best thing: I went to a local bookstore that had become a safe haven (cough, cough, Mystery to Me) in a new and unfamiliar city, and I asked for a job. Turns out, they liked me enough to hire me, and now, I get to share my love of reading and storytelling with the good people of Madison, WI.

My favorite part about this gig is, without a doubt, my time in the kids’ section. 

While I’m perfectly content roaming the shelves on my own, it’s the very best when I get to help a student find their next big read. There’s something so special about hearing which stories have shaped the way these students think, feel, and act in the world.

So, why did I start “ Wildflower Press ?” 

There are so many fantastic reads available to us in 2019, and this is a great gift! It’s wonderful that young readers can find a book about any topic that interests them, but for parents, this can pose a challenge. Even the most avid readers can’t read everything. It’s just not possible. It’s certainly not possible as a parent trying to juggle work, school functions, laundry, meal plans, and (Heaven forbid) their own interests. This is where I come in.

My goal is to take one thing of your plate, whether you’re a parent trying to stay aware of the content your child is reading or you’re someone who loves to read but just doesn’t have the time to scroll through the thousands of books on Goodreads before choosing your next read. Here’s a breakdown of the pages you’ll find

  • “About Me”
    • Contact Me
    • Email List – here, you can subscribe to my monthly newsletter highlighting new books as well as insights from a variety of readers, authors, booksellers, and more!
  • Blog
    • Ta-da! You’re already here!
    • Read my general thoughts on stories, faith, and sometimes (gasp!) hot topics in our cultural, political, and personal lives.
    • All opinions in the blog entries are entirely my own, unless otherwise specified. 
  • “Spotlight Reads”
    • Find top reads in each genre as told by myself, kids, and parents.
    • These will also feature my favorite audiobooks, courtesy of! is an amazing platform to find all of the latest and greatest audiobooks around. They also help you support your local bookstore! With every book you purchase, your local bookstore will receive a percentage of the sale! BONUS: If you #switch from Audible to, you’ll receive a 3-for-1 deal when you sign up – That’s 3 audiobooks for $14.95!
  • “Reviews“ 
    • Find book reviews for picture books and middle grade and young adult fiction (the latter two including “trigger warnings” about sensitive content as well as suggestions for conversations to have with your kiddos as they read that particular story).
    • Again, all opinions used to describe the books’ themes and content are mine and mine alone, unless otherwise specified.

A Word on Faith, Culture, and Worldview

The blog is a place for me to share what I’ve learned through stories, and faith is a big part of my story. I am a Christian. I believe everything I have in this life is a direct result of the sacrifice Jesus paid for my brokenness. I believe I’m called to love ALL people, including those who hold entirely opposite beliefs of my own. 

The lens through which I see the world is shaped by my beliefs about God, humanity, and how they are in relationship with the world we live in. I believe humans have the freedom to accept or reject ideas as they desire. In other words, I’m not here to make you think just like me.  

At times, I will write about how my faith affects my life. Other times, I won’t. Whether we have the same beliefs or not, I am SO happy you are here! There are plenty of ways for us to divide ourselves in 2019, and I think we can all agree that it would be nice if the love of reading and storytelling could UNITE readers of all backgrounds.

Let’s try it, shall we?