A couple of days ago I did a really long post on Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins. Later, in comments, a few of us got into a discussion on kids' books adults like and whether or not children actually like them, too.
This is a long-running concern for me. To me, there will always be a wall between kids and true, authentic kid literature and that wall is the adults who write, publish, review, and sell it. We can only guess at what we're doing.
An alternative way to go about this, of course, would be to have younger and younger people write books. That's supposed to be happening. Some new books are supposed to be coming out that were written by people in their late teens (boy, do I wish I could find where I read about that), and I'm not talking Christopher Paolini.
Unfortunately, I don't think the very young should be publishing. Fortunately, someone named John Scalzi has already taken the time to express some excellent arguments that support my position. Pay particular attention to No. 5 on his list of Ten Things Teenage Writers Should Know About Writing. Everyone tells aspiring writers to read a lot. Rarely do I hear anyone tell them what they should think about their reading, too. With No. 6 Scalzi makes excellent practical and philosophical points. But the whole list is really good.
This still leaves us with our original problem, of course--how to write for kids. Rest assured, I will continue to dwell on and whine about this.
Thanks to the child_lit listserv for the link to John Scalzi.