When I heard about First Book's "What book got you hooked?" competition (www2.firstbook.org/whatbook), I went to the site hoping their list of favorites might spark some ideas. (The site is hosting a competition where they'll award 50,000 new books to the state that gets the most votes. West Virginia placed third last year, and is currently third again this year, with less than a month to go before ending.)
I skimmed the voter favorites and saw some titles that would've made my own list ("Put Me in the Zoo" by Robert Lopshire, "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak, "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White), but I wasn't sure what might strike the fancy of my fickle 11-year-old. She's at that age where so many books seem too young and others seem too mature.
To me, reading is every bit as important as a healthy diet, doing homework and getting enough sleep. But it seems wrong (and it may be counterproductive) to force a child to read.
My 13-year-old niece, Madeline, is a ravenous reader. When she visited this summer, she brought a duffel bag filled with novels. Since Celeste looks up to her cousin, I hoped she'd catch the book bug, but I think she's immune.
My husband and I read all the time. Seeing one of us with a book is a daily event. But apparently, we're the epitome of not cool. How does a parent battle the not cool factor?
It's a shame the Kindle, Amazon's electronic wireless reading device, is still so expensive ($359) since that kind of technology might be what it takes for her to view reading as cool. But until they become more affordable, we're considering canceling our cable. If her entertainment options are diminished, she might rethink her opinion that reading is for nerds.
Karin Fuller can be reached via e-mail at karinful...@cnpapers.com. Her columns can be accessed easily online through her blog at thegazz.com.