Links I Shared on Twitter Recently: March 6: Encouraging Young Bookworms via #GraphicNovels, #ReadingChoice + Other Tips
Quite Possibly my Favorite Saturday Morning Ever (and a validation of giving kids #ReadingChoice)

Literacy Milestone: Falling in Love with A Middle Grade Book Series

Last week I shared a "Bookworm Moments" post about my daughter toting around books in the Magic Kingdom on our recent vacation. My loyal commenter Judy thought that I had buried the lead. She said that what I should have focused on in the post title was that this was the first big, thick book that my daughter read straight through that wasn't a graphic novel. Judy is right, of course, that this was an important part of the story. But I was waiting for my daughter to finish the Candymakers series to write about that aspect of it. And I'm glad that I did.

My daughter finished The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase earlier this week. She has since declared the two Candymakers books (by Wendy Mass) her all-time favorites, giving a 2% edge to the second book. She is now distraught because there are no more Candymakers books. She's walking around saying things like:

  • The Candymakers books are "clinging to my brain" and I can't focus on starting any other books.
  • I wish (my friend who wants to be an engineer) could invent a "brain eraser" to that I could erase these books from my memory, and read them again for the first time.
  • I MISS the Candymakers. WHY aren't there any more books in the series?
  • It's so frustrating that you can't re-read mysteries, because you already know  what happens.
  • And so on... 

She is unwilling to start another book (not even another Wendy Mass book), because it won't be the same.

CandymakerThe time came Friday morning that she had to pack up The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase to return it to the school library. She clutched it to her heart and pouted. She only agreed to return it when I said that we could check it out from the public library over the weekend. She doesn't intend to re-read it yet, mind you. She just wants to have it nearby, because she loves it so much. 

I told her that I understood. I told her that The Candymakers books will always have a special place in her heart, because they are the first books the she truly immersed herself in. Graphic novels are wonderful, but they're much quicker reads. And the pictures are, obviously, created by someone else. Falling deeply in love with some 1000 pages (over two books) of text, and creating the pictures in your own mind, is a more immersive experience. 

I also told her that it's not about this particular copy of the book. That it's the story that matters. I told her that to this day there are books that I pat on the spine when I run across them in a library or a bookstore, because they are my friends. I told her that one day, when she's grown and has children of her own, the Candymakers books will be like that for her. I believe that this is true. 

The other reason that this milestone made me happy was that this opens a door for my daughter. Although I'm happy for her to read graphic novels whenever she likes, I have really struggled to find enough of them to keep her engaged. But if she can sit down and plow through a 500 page middle grade novel over a few days, just THINK of how many other wonderful books there are for her to  choose from.

Once those Candymakers characters stop clinging to her brain, anyway, and let someone else in.  

Thanks for reading, and for caring about growing bookworms. 

© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage