I wanted a change of scenery for writing today, so I decided to hang out in my local library, and found a comfy chair in a quiet corner near the children’s section. In the course of an hour I heard at least three moms admonish their young child, telling him or her the book that had been so carefully selected from the shelf was “too thick”. I’m just venting here, but too thick? Not “the words are too big” or “the content is too mature” – too thick?
I love to read, and the size of the book has never been my main concern. Both of my children grew up as avid readers and I never discouraged a book based on the size, although there were a couple that I nixed for content. Like the comic book my then nine year-old son selected with pictures of a young naked girl giving a young boy a bath. It was one of those Japanese comics that you read from back to front. I wasn’t ready for him to view nudity in that context, and returned the book myself. I was aware of the risk I was taking by allowing him to venture into the young adult section at such a tender age, but I wanted to fuel his thirst for reading, not squash it. I’m afraid his quest to find more of the titillating topics may have been the driving force for a while, but hey, at least he was reading.
Getting back to my original point – so what if the chosen book is thicker than any of the other books the child has read before, children have a tendency to experience growth spurts over the summer – perhaps she is having a growth spurt in reading as well, and it’s time to advance. How will she ever know if she can read a “thick book” in two weeks if she isn’t allowed to at least try?
A special note to Moms: Please put away your “angry pens”, this is not an attempt to tell you how to raise your children, just an observation and a suggestion.