Last week my daughter, Sidney, busied herself around the house for a few days without once picking up a book. Sidney has always been an avid reader. Most school days she sets her alarm 30 minutes earlier than necessary to allow extra time for luxuriating in the soft pages of fictional worlds. I know I am lucky that she is one of those kids who has to be told to put her book down during mealtimes so that we can talk about things happening in our real world. When I complain about the fact that sometimes she reads too much, it feels like I am answering one of those interview questions that asks you to address your weaknesses and you want to respond coyly, "I'm a perfectionist."
A few times during those rare non-reading days I would look at her nightstand piled high, the book nook scattered with paperbacks whose book marks were trying to get a peek out from their lonely pages, but I never saw her pick up any of those books patiently waiting for her attention. By the third morning, I asked her what she was reading, and she said that she just didn’t have anything she was really excited about. “Oh," I said somewhat relieved, “I wish you had told me...let’s look around and see if we can find something.”
I make it a practice to borrow a variety of books from the library about every two weeks and I try to have at least two dedicated shelves lined with titles I have read about in reviews and booklists or heard about from kids. That morning we sat together in front of one of our bookshelves and began diving for some gems. We did a kind of speed dating with the books: I would give her a summary of a book and then she would read the first page to decide if it was worth a second date or maybe even love at first sight. Within ten minutes we landed on George, by Alex Gino, and she bounded up to her room to spend some time snuggled up with George. The next day, after she had been quietly reading in her bed for 30 minutes, I finally had to interrupt her to remind her to get up, get dressed, and come down to breakfast. She came down with George in hand with about 20 pages to go and was asking if she could set her alarm for ten minutes earlier because she wanted more time to read tomorrow before school. My reader was back and I gave George a fist-bump!
I get many requests for book recommendations and I am always happy to share my favorites, so please feel free to keep sending those emails and looking at FLOW's book club selections. I also want you to have some other great resources for book lists that you can check out - because whether or not your kids love reading, there is a book out there for them. There are numerous lists that can help your kiddo find the right book that she just cannot put down, and finding the perfect book is the alchemy that transforms kids into readers.
Here are some great links to get you started: