Why kids love Andy Griffiths
Andy Griffiths is a prolific Australian author with over 30 children’s titles published. He is best known for his Treehouse series, The Day My Bum Went Psycho and the JUST! books. A passionate advocate for literacy and an ambassador for The Indigenous Literacy Foundation and The Pyjama Foundation, Andy has written children’s books for over twenty years.
He sounds like a great guy and a good writer. But that doesn’t explain why his stories are so popular with kids.
Why the kids love to read Andy’s books
Andy Griffith has a bit of head-start on understanding the minds of children – he genuinely loves children’s authors like Dr. Seuss, Enid Blyton, and Lewis Carroll and he is an English teacher. While he was teaching, he realised many of his students hated to read, so he created funny stories to engage his pupils and make them laugh. Once he was published, he was introduced to an illustrator (Terry Denton) who shared his sense humour and conveyed it beautifully in Andy’s books.
The important ingredient that makes Andy’s books a standout with kids is his honesty. Pick up any Andy Griffiths title and the first thing you’ll notice is that he succeeds in getting some fairly sensitive concepts across without patronising his readers or watering down his language. His stories remain reader-appropriate without pulling punches or indulging in empty moralising. The honesty of his work, coupled with his and his illustrator’s real enjoyment for the ridiculous are immediately recognised by young readers.
Griffiths’ honesty extends to his appearances at schools and Writer’s Festivals. Having sat in a mainly school-age audience at the 2014 Byron Writer’s Festival, I can attest first-hand to his ‘take no prisoners’ approach to questions. He treated all members of the audience equally.
Griffiths’ writing is not to every adult’s taste, but it’s worth remembering he’s not aiming his books at parents. One of the most important goals is getting kids to read within the bounds of age appropriateness, and that is an area where Andy excels. Most kids don’t want to put down his books when they start one, and eagerly await the next installment. So, while a bumageddon may not sound appealing to you, it will certainly prove a page-turner for your ten-year-old boy who doesn’t normally like reading!
Find out more about Andy Griffiths