Sometimes a children's book offers just the change of pace that an adult (this adult anyway) needs. Typically (but not always) shorter, it's great for those brief moments between unwelcome tasks (like throwing away memorabilia destroyed in a basement flood). Usually upbeat, at least by the end of the story, a children's book can be great for lifting the spirit. And the questions raised, while frequently fascinating, might be just far enough away from everyday life to provide an open window where real ones feel closed. Plus, kids books often include animals - birds and puppies in these...
The Strange Round Bird by Eden Unger Bowditch isn't short, but it's an excellent children's novel, nicely written so periods of fast action are comfortably interspersed with periods of dialog, problem-solving and thought. Sadly you might not get to read it yet, as it's still pre-release. But why not read books one and two of the series, so you'll be ready (The Atomic Weight of Secrets and The Ravens of Solemano)? If you know any young readers with intelligence and imagination, why not feed them by letting them read too? Strange Round Bird is an elegant complex tale to be enjoyed with elegant complex four-star coffee.
Shorter, but similarly well-researched, with a similar basis in science (more turn of this century than turn of the last though), Purple Pup by Karl Steam introduces children to the ideas of modern genetics through the eyes of a purple puppy. There's a delightfully clean and simple storyline--Black Beauty meets modern science perhaps--and there's plenty of adventure and food for thought. Enjoy with some well-balanced smooth three-star coffee.
Then there's Talon, come fly with me by Gigi Sedlmayer, a tale that's filled with fascinating facts of geography and nature as a missionary's daughter tries to save the egg of an endangered condor. Matica has faced human cruelty herself, but she learns to value her differences as the story progresses. Love and patience are rewarded, and purpose is revealed in the problems God sets before us. The action's fast but the storytelling is slow, making this a good book perhaps to read to a child at bedtime. Enjoy with some well-balanced three-star coffee.
I'm sure I must have read more children's books recently, but my records are out of date, my to-read list is buried in emails, and my basement ... well, let's not think about that. It must be time to sit down again with a good book.