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,
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!