Young Readers ARE Subjective

A few days ago, one of my writerly-type friends posted a note on FB that Parent & Child magazine listed the top 100 Greatest Books for Kids, and she wondered what others thought about it. She didn't like the idea that they called it the "GREATEST" books for Kids.

And I happen to agree.

Greatest books in whose opinion? Teachers? Librarians? Editors? Parents? Because you know they didn't ask the kids! Many of those books are read by kids because their teachers/parents force them to read them.

The greatest books tag needs to be changed to Most Popular or Biggest Moneymaker or Whatever, but not greatest.

Look at the dance show that used to be called, America's Best Dancer. They changed the name to America's FAVORITE Dancer because the best dancer doesn't always win. They might be technically adept, but if they don't have much of a personality or the ability to convey the emotions of the dance, or whatever, then the voters won't vote for them.

Again, it's subjective.

Which was my comment: Even at a very young age, children are subjective readers. What one kid likes another kid doesn't.

I loved reading the Froggy books to my daughter. She listened to them, but they weren't her favorites. THE SLEEP BOOK was, and still is, one of her favorites. I bought a dragon book for her three years ago called, THE FIRE WITHIN. I loved the book, but I couldn't get her to read past the first few pages. Now, she's devouring the series.

I love Harry Potter. She refuses to read them.

I love the Percy Jackson books. She refuses to read them.

It might be a readiness and ability to read a particular book, but if a child is interested, they will read. The key as a parent is to give them the ability to CHOOSE the books they want to read. And yes, I firmly believe this subjectivity starts at a very young age.

Fantasy stories have always talked to me. I understood them, but when my brother gave me THE HOBBIT when I was 12, I wasn't ready to read that particular book. Two years later, I read THE HOBBIT and the rest of the Lord of the Rings trilogy within weeks . . . and then read them again and again.

My sister, a double Masters, teacher/librarian for 35+ years, refused to read the Harry Potter books. I still don't know if she's read them. All I know is that she hasn't read my stuff. :-P She didn't like the "abuse" Harry suffered when he lived in the cupboard under the stairs. Actually, I find comfort in small places--kind of like swaddling an infant--it conveys the feeling of security.

I think she missed a huge opportunity by her stubbornness--

because when an author writes a series of books that manages to get a WHOLE GENERATION ALL OVER THE WORLD TO START READING, then that's a really, really good thing.

God Bless, J. K. Rowling!

Anyway, the whole purpose of this blog is to let kids read what they want to read. Who cares what they read as long as they are reading . . . within reason, of course, you don't want a 10-year-old reading racy romances, do you? You do have to play the parent, yanno. And, yes, I know I have blog readers who cut their teeth on romances, but back then they didn't have quite the same level of heat. . . unless you read Rosemary Rogers, but that's another blog topic!

Reading is wonderful. I just don't want someone to tell me that because I haven't read a particular book (trust me, there are TONS of "classics" that I haven't read) it makes me less educated or well-read.

Many people read to be educated. While others feel they need to broaden their minds. While others will only read non-fiction. Or others read only classics. Or . . .  (supply your reason here)

I read for enjoyment and escapism.

What do your read, and why?


Cynthia D'Alba said...

same here...enjoyment and escapism.

But I read romance because I love experiencing falling in love over and over

magolla said...

Totally agree! Hey, I'm reading a pretty decent story by this chick named Cynthis D'Alba right now . . .

Cynthia D'Alba said...

I hear she's awesome! hee hee

Marilyn said...

I read romance, YA, science fiction, mystery and -- my current favorite -- grand-scope fantasy.

Oh, and Where Does Bear Go? Arthur's Halloween? Biscuit in all his adventurs and Dr. Seuss.

I read for fun or research. Life is too short to spend on books that bore me.

Jody Werner said...

I'd like to see a non-fiction book thrown in to the mix once in awhile. Any subject matter the kid finds fascinating is fine - even if it's about worms. :)

magolla said...

I feel the same way, Marilyn, though I have been known to "stick it out" longer than I should on some books. The last one was a Christina Dodd--I finally threw in the towel around pg 50.

Doncha love rediscovering kid's books?

magolla said...

To tell you the truth, Jods, I don't think there are that many NF kid's books out there. I know there are some middle grade ones, but mainly they are fictionalize accounts about real people.

I agree though, it would be interesting to see one on the list.

Twisted Sister said...

To escape--live another life, even for just a few hours.

magolla said...

Ah, another escapism fan. :-) Thanks, Megs. REading is the adult way of running away to join the circus.