My family visited Disney World last week. On the first day, my daughter, who is currently obsessed by the two-book The Candymakers series by Wendy Mass, lamented every moment that she didn't have her (very thick) book with her. By the last day, she was toting not one but two books as we headed to the Magic Kingdom.
It's a bit hard to see in the photo here, but she is reading a graphic novel as we wait for the bus, with The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase visible in her (new) backpack. She chose the backpack as her souvenir from the trip with carrying books around in mind. On taking TWO books with her, she explained that the graphic novel was for when she couldn't concentrate well (as when in line), while the novel was for quieter moments when she could focus.
This, my friends, is exhibit A on why parents should get out of the way and let kids read what they want to read. If I had pushed her to bring along some book that I wanted her to read, do you think she would have sat happily reading while my husband and I waited in the Citrus Swirl line? Or while we waited for our food at dinner? Bringing her books along to the park was her idea and her idea alone.
We probably would have brought one of the books with us every day, but the Candymakers books (hardcover library editions) are heavy! A friend suggested on Facebook that I get my daughter a Kindle. That's what I do myself: I always bring my Kindle Paperwhite to the parks in the expectation of some reading time. However, my daughter and I both prefer for her to read in print for now. She likes seeing her progress through these big books. And I think she likes the way that being seen with a book in the parks (and in airports and restaurants) displays her bookworm identity.
One final note: the Candymakers books are the first big, fat, all-text books that she has devoured from cover to cover. (Well, she's almost done with the second one - I just head a "YES!" from her room, where she is reading in bed this fine Saturday morning.) She's read shorter middle grade books, but with more fits and starts, mixed in with her steady diet of graphic and notebook novels. This series feels like a turning point for her, one that I am happy about.
I have always celebrated her love of graphic novels and expect her to continue reading them for years to come. But I'm excited for her now, because reading more broadly in the middle grade realm opens up so many other opportunities for her enjoyment. We have two other Wendy Mass books on order, and I'm mulling other Candymakers read-alikes.
But mostly, I think I just need to get out of the way at this point. She found these books on her own, while browsing the school library with a friend. She will find the next ones, too. Parents, have faith in reading choice. And no matter what the school librarian says, if a book is captivating your child, by all means let her bring it on vacation.
Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms!
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