I have raised a reader. How good am I?
This is one reason why I am not ready to cancel my newspaper delivery and start reading the news solely on line. That, plus mornings would not be the same without paper and coffee cups spread out all over the dining room table. You know what I’m talking about.
Even when my children were infants, I carved out a little time each day to read for myself. Often it was with a baby in my lap, or in stolen moments during nap times when the laundry could wait. I always thought that seeing me reading would encourage my girls to read too, just as it did for me when I was young and watching my Mom read (hi Mom!). It must have worked because Niamh reads books voraciously, and now she has started with the newspaper too. So far she likes the comics, Dear Abby, Sudoku, and the City section too. Sometimes I want to cover up the front page of the newspaper so she won’t see whatever awfulness is happening in the world, and though I try to resist that urge, I often do end up hiding it because it is often just too graphic. She is ten, in the fourth grade, wise beyond her years, but still my baby.
I suppose I needn’t bother. A few months ago Niamh asked me to get a book for her. The Hunger Games. All of the grade five girls in her grade four/five split class were reading it and she wanted to read it too. Er.
I have always vowed never to censor my children’s reading, but I have always wanted to know what books they were reading. I bought The Hunger Games and then I read it first. I was surprised that girls her age were devouring it, as the writing seemed fairly advanced for that age group, plus all the violence and all. I didn’t love the book, and the premise of people fighting to their deaths was distasteful to me, but I gave it to Niamh after I was finished reading it. I told her that I didn’t think that she was quite ready for it yet, but that she could read it if she wanted to and we could talk about it whenever she wanted. I fully expected her to pick up the book and then put it down again; I truly didn’t think she would read it just yet. The book sat in her room for a while. She read other books while it sat there, but then, when she did finally pick it up one day, she was completely hooked – as long as she didn’t read it right before going to sleep – that was disturbing to her. She finished reading it last weekend, and she cannot wait to get the next book in the series.
I’m just crossing my fingers that she doesn’t ask about Fifty Shades anytime soon.
Anyhow, I thought I would share with you Niamh’s top ten book recommendations for some summer reading if you have girls the same age, especially if they are interested in history. You may want to screen them first.
Niamh’s Top Ten Book List
1. Mama’s Going to Buy You a Mockingbird by Jean Little (and anything else by Jean Little)
2. The Malory Towers and St. Clare’s series by Enid Blyton
3. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
4. Underground to Canada by Barbara Smucker
5. Dear Canada: A Desperate Road to Freedom by Karleen Bradford
6. Dear Canada: If I Die Before I Wake by Jean Little
7. If I Just Had Two Wings by Virginia Frances Schwartz
8. The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis
9. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
10. Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney