Dear Parents of Readers

Today I’m sharing the introductory letter I wrote for the anthology my publishing house put out this month. Eleven stories, selected by Misha Burnett, the editor, and with all of them he was looking for one thing: family.

Sanderley Studios is pleased to present: Adventure Stories for Young Readers. Out now in ebook, paperback coming soon.

Dear Parents of Readers,

When Misha first came to me about this project, he wasn’t asking for help. He was lamenting that he’d pitched the idea of stories that were not only about adventure, the sense of wonder, and growing up, but were also about whole, healthy family lives. The pitch had been rejected, on the basis that they didn’t want to see the family element.

Like myself, Misha found this disappointing. I agree that far too many modern projects steamroll over the idea of a loving family environment and leave it in shattered ruins in their wake. I think of Jordan Peterson’s caution over crushing tradition willy-nilly without fully understanding the consequences of your actions. Breaking down a fence, he comments, is all well and good until you’re running from the bull.

Family builds and fosters resilience in children. Secure connections allow risks to be taken in small, incremental doses that build up a foundation for a competent, functional adult. Children forced to become miniature adults don’t build the mental strength to be loving parents to their own children, and the cycle rolls on. What if we could promote kids being kids? Kids who set off to do brave, wonderful things (albeit sometimes for boneheaded reasons) and who had the safety net of unconditional love under them?

Real life is already filled with tragic stories. Perhaps what the world needs is affirmation that it’s ok to be loved. It’s ok to screw up, have an adventure, and come home again. That even if you make a mistake, someone will love you anyway. Life isn’t perfect.

One thing we can do with our words is offer solutions. We can explore the possibilities. We can show models of what family is, and can be. We can write out role play in the best possible way. Readers, this isn’t about preaching a message to you. It’s simply about giving you stories that might expand your world a little bit. Adventures are best happening to someone else, far away. In these pages, you too can have adventures, without the cold, wet, and mosquito bites!

Not your mother, but someone’s,

Cedar Sanderson

Sanderley Studios September 2021

The tales in this book are suitable for ages ten and up, with a high reading level. No attempt was made to talk down to the reader, or to steer away from difficult situations that might provoke conversation with their own parents. We recommend you read it with them, and enjoy!

18 comments

    1. Well, it just got added to my list for putting under my virtual Christmas tree.

      Honestly, I can read and enjoy just about anything that is above the “See Spot run. Run, Spot, run!” level. (That the majority of “literary” output these days seems to be at that writing level – just with more syllables and obscenities – is a major part of why I cannot read or enjoy those efforts.)

  1. Great intro. But I can’t imagine readers of 10-and-up explicitly sharing their reading with their parents…

    On the other hand, I remember tons of books available for readers of that age, decades ago, that were certainly wholesome adventures (many from decades earlier than that), and I devoured them by the gallon.

  2. It does require careful juggling for the child to have agency during adventures when the parents are competent.

  3. Good points about family. And now that I think about it… all of the “Boys Adventures” I’ve read from or in the style of the 1800s have, as the final goal after all the distant adventures, the discovery of or return to family, or of belonging to some greater thing (like a new nation).

    1. Very true. What I remember about older generation fodder from young reading in the early 60s were Albert Payson Terhune, Gene Stratton Porter, animal series like The Black Stallion & Big Red, Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys/(Trixie Belden-later), Dumas (3 Musketeers, Monte Cristo), Walter Scott, Robin Hood (Howard Pyle), and so forth. Sound stuff, from the perspective of adventure, courage, justice, family.

      It got me hooked on the traditional Child Ballads and, eventually, the whole corpus of Indo-European epics and sagas (and dead languages), via the LOTR appendices. [So much for my theoretical math major in college which never materialized…]

      1. For me, it was my father’s collection of My Book House. I have the set published in the 1920’s and got a later set for the grandkids. Some of the best money I ever spent.

        As a side note, those are wonderful for home schooling.

        Thanks for reminding me of the Black Stallion series. I need to reread those books.

        And I’ll get a print copy of Adventure Stories when available.

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