A twitter follower, who won’t be named because she’s a minor (although she is welcome to comment here if she likes) said this to me yesterday: “My dad decided I had to read ‘big kid’ books” – when we discussed why she didn’t yet have a copy of Insurgent in her hot little hands. She had been placed on a book ban until she finished a biography that even I found sounded boring.Photosource: jim828.blogspot.com
What constitutes a “big kid” book anyway? Is it some enlightening material that is going to help you become brilliant? Is it a textbook or a biography? Who and what determines the guidelines of a “big kid” book? Hearing that, it made me realize that, at thirty-two years old (yikes!), I don’t read ANY “big kid” books. In fact, I never have (the Steve Jobs book doesn’t count – I’m an iNerd – and I haven’t cracked the spine yet). Upon inspection of the books I’ve read this year alone, 21 out of 25 books have been Young Adult. !!!
When I was a kid (elementary through high school), the only book ban my parents enforced upon me was when they grounded me by taking away my books, because they figured out that grounding me from going outside or from the TV, or even from talking on the phone with my friends (this was before texting you guys), didn’t do anything since I would simply banish myself to my bedroom and read a book. Contentedly. Raised as an only child (I do have two sisters – they didn’t live with me) I was perfectly capable of entertaining myself; I was also very willful (still am), therefore punishments were probably hard to think of for me. So – I got grounded from my books.
But my parents never told me WHAT TO READ. I think they were so happy I wasn’t watching garbage on MTV that they didn’t care what I read, as long as I was actually reading something. I often perused my stepfather’s bookshelves for more content to bury my nose in, begged to be taken to the bookstores and library, and borrowed friends’ books religiously. But it was never mandated that I HAD to read books I didn’t want to read, unless it was for school.
I’m a big proponent of not forcing kids (hell, people in general) to read things they don’t like. I think that squashes the love of reading and is a detriment to the very trait a parent is trying to instill. I would love for my boyfriend’s son to enjoy reading, so I get excited when he even shows an interest in magazines. It’s one step closer. I’ll buy him any book he wants as long as he wants to read it. I will never tell him he has to read a “big kid” book, because that’s two steps forward and THREE steps back and not the direction we want to go.Photosource: omg.yahoo.com
I also find that people, no matter what book they read, still take something away from it. Right now, the current popular genre among teens and young adults is Dystopian and finding a hero in a character like Katniss Everdeen, who is a) smart, b) cunning and c) brave isn’t really all that bad. There is a lot to take away from books like The Hunger Games and Divergent, especially given the world’s current political climate. No, they aren’t classics, but we don’t know if they will be someday. Every great classic started somewhere, right?
I can only hope as I get older that I don’t make these kinds of mistakes with “my” kids. I don’t want them to hate what they read and then perhaps someday, hate the written word. Where would we be then?
So tell me your thoughts: would you make your children read the classics, or biographies and memoires outside of school? Or would you be perfectly content if they were simply “readers?”Special thanks to my Tweeper for the inspiration of this article! Now finish that terrible book you have to read so you can get Insurgent!
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