Posted in general and welcome

Don’t judge a book by its mother

A very brief post from me, as I’ve been sitting here thinking of various things. It’s that time of night when the mind tends to wander and become more philosophical, not through wine but probably through the need to sleep!

Everyone talks about the importance of reading to and with your child. I totally agree with this of course – otherwise why would Holly and I commit ourselves to a blog that’s all about reading from a child’s and adult’s perspective? There are many reasons why reading together is important:

  • it helps instil a love of reading in your child
  • it helps them learn to read and write and talk about books and other subjects
  • it exposes them to different ways of seeing things, of thinking and of experiencing different cultures and ways of life
  • it gives them skills to access a wide world of opportunities
  • perhaps most importantly (at least for me), it is a chance to spend some quality time with your child. Curled up on a sofa or on the bed, with a good book, it’s a time for parent and child to lose themselves in a story, away from the worries of the day, away from disagreements and fights and general busyness.

 

We don’t lead by example!

Reading this blog you would be forgiven for thinking that Holly and I have a harmonious reading experience. That perhaps we eagerly reach out for the same book and immerse ourselves in its pages.

This is rarely the case!

I don’t know if there are other parents out there that have experienced this, but Holly often seems determined not to read a book that I have suggested to her. I don’t know how long I tried to entice her with various childhood favourites, only for her to sniff in disdain and reach for something else instead. I soon found out that the more I tried to flag up the merits of a particular book, the more determined she would be to firmly leave it aside.

Soon, I started leaving books around the place, casually, and watch for her reaction. Sometimes they’d sit there for ages but often she would notice them, pick them up and start leafing through them. She’d ask me why they were there and I’d reply, nonchalantly, that I had left them by accident and would take them away. She’d insist on wanting to look at them and eventually we’d end up reading them together.

You may think I am devious for doing this, but many of Holly’s childhood favourites have been discovered in this way. These were all books that I knew, from her previous reading history, that she would like but was resisting due to her desire to be different from her mother. It’s a natural stage of stubbornness that has lasted quite a few years but at least I know that she’s not reading to please me, which is heartening.

Just don’t show her this post or she will know what I’m up to! I guess my cover’s blown.

  • Does your child try to avoid the books you suggest for them?
  • Do you avoid books your child suggests to you?! (I am guilty of the latter but only in the case of books that have a necklace or plastic animal attached to them, as it seems too much to me that they are offering a freebie to make up for a shortfall in the story.)
  • Do you have any tactics for encouraging your child to read a particular book?
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Author:

Childtastic Books started out as a collaborative blog, written by me and my young daughter Holly. Now she's nearly a teen, she's off doing exciting and new things but I am still here, reading, writing and reviewing books for children and young adults of all ages. I miss her input but I hope she will pop in from time to time to do some guest posts! A little about me - I have just finished an MA in Children's Literature from the University of Roehampton (result pending, eeek) and am a part-time primary school librarian. The other part of my time is spent writing and editing, my own work and others, and I am waiting for my first non-fiction book to be published - a teacher resources pack for Handa's Surprise. I welcome comments and love to hear from visitors to this blog. Please note though that, because of time constraints, it is rare that I can read and review books from self-published authors. I receive so many requests and feel badly about not being able to keep up with them all. Thanks for visiting! Sam

6 thoughts on “Don’t judge a book by its mother

  1. I was most definitely a child like Holly – I refused whatever my mother suggested (and now I’m much older, I try very hard listen to her suggestions, but old habits die hard!)

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    1. It’s very difficult, isn’t it? I am so keen on books that I rave about all sorts and am usually met with a weary expression. I think that while Holly loves reading she’s just not as fanatical about books as I am so I may need to rein in my enthusiasm!

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  2. This is a really interesting post. I’ve often found the same thing with C and H, but wondered whether it might be a gender thing (though I always secretly thought it was more of a parent/child thing). Having seen that you and Holly experience it also makes me think that it’s something we all do to assert our independence!
    I’ve found that bedtime is definitely the WRONG time to try and suggest anything new with the boys, so I introduce them during our daytime story times instead. Sometimes I also just read the book out loud to myself, without any preamble, which often draws them in.
    However, I should add here that C is three and a half and H is two, so I think their age might be on my side – I certainly don’t kid myself that I’ll be able to ‘fool’ them in the same way as they get older 😉
    I’m sure the reverse psychology thing must apply sometimes, as I could swear I remember my mum specifically telling me not to read certain (brilliant) books and me rushing straight off to seek them out…

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    1. Thank you for your compliment. 🙂 I reckon as you say that children are trying to constantly assert themselves and this is just one of the many ways. Bedtime certainly is the wrong time to introduce new books – you’re right – as I think they are so tired by then they aren’t in the right mindset to contemplate anything new. I like the idea of reading aloud!

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  3. Hi, just found your blog, love the idea, had to add a comment about your post. I have 3 daughters all who love books it is a love we all share. I too though find their selections bizarre at times, my 4 year old is very much taken in by the free gift approach, I will never buy them as a matter of principle, my seven year old never reads books I love until she finds them for herself, but the thing I find really odd is she doesn’t seem to enjoy sequels, I have bought her several as she has stayed up all night reading a book by torch light only to find she hardly touches the sequel…. Also mine are very driven by pink covers, this also drives me bonkers, interesting piece of research though, what drives children to read certain books over others?

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    1. Hi Gemma,
      Thanks so much for your comments. I am glad to hear of other mothers who have the same issues over reading choice! It certainly would make interesting research to see how children pick books, and I am sure publishers must have some facts on that!

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