My super smart, super wonderful 8 year old son (and no, I am not at all biased! 🙂 ) gave me his first serious book recommendation this week. At the time, I was tired, and more than a little overwhelmed with all the STUFF there is to get accomplished and to worry about, so I’ll be honest, at first, I didn’t really give a lot of thought to what that meant to me. But I have thought about it since and decided it was worth a middle of the week bonus blog post to share.
My husband and I are both serious readers. As a writer, it’s an essential job tool, but it is also simply one of my absolute favorite things. For as long as I can remember I have loved to read, so I have always tried to pass along this lifelong love of reading to my three young sons.
Their dad and I have tried to make it a point to always let the boys see us reading. I even make an effort to check out actual books from the library or buy real books at the book store instead of reading all books on my Kindle. My kids are smart enough to know that mommy may be looking at pictures of Tom Hiddleston instead of reading a book on her Kindle. (Don’t you judge me. 😉 ) But also, going to the library for books and buying books at the bookstore are part of the joy for me.
We’ve also always read to them, both for school and just as part of bedtime. When they were babies I remember reading something that said it didn’t matter what you read to your kids, it could even be the sports page, as long as you were reading to them, it would benefit them. I proceeded to read them all the Harry Potter books before they were able to walk. I’m certain this benefitted them greatly.
Here’s what happened that made me realize that I must be doing something right.
My family made a special adventure to the ginormous Half Price Books flagship store in Dallas. The place is seriously really huge and packed full of wonderful goodness. While we were there, we gave the boys a limit on how many books they could get and then did our best to manage the giddy excitement of finding new books.
For my twins, who are 6, this meant superhero books mostly. My oldest twin thoughtfully picked up a Thor book with Loki in it for mommy. He’s a sweet kid.
My oldest’s priority was sports books, specifically football, but then he wanted to look at chapter books. While looking, he found the section with graphic novels. He then became very excited and wanted to find this “awesome” book he’d read at school.
I am not sure if this was through the school library or in the classroom possibly, but he had read Zita The Space Girl. Seeing all the books like the one he wanted, he decided we had to get it.
So the search began.
Thanks to the greatness that is having all answers readily available on a trusty iPhone, I was able to find the author’s name (Ben Hatke) and begin looking for the book. The Half Price Books’ employee was very kind but had not heard of the book, so we did our own search, and -miracle of miracles- found the one copy they had in stock!
The book went home with us (along with many others) and my son read it the next day. He then had my husband read it. He then repeatedly told me I needed to read it, going so far as to set it alongside my other books piled up on the nightstand by the bed. Then, and I am not exaggerating here, actually nudged me with the thing while we were all piled in bed watching TV. Evidently I was not reading it as soon as I should.
So after the kids went to bed, I kept my promise and read the book.
I will admit here that I was not excited. I haven’t paid much attention to graphic novels. I told myself, though, that I would at least start taking a look at it.
It turned out though that my son was right. The book is awesome. The pictures are engaging and lovely. The characters are well defined and interesting. And it left me wanting more.
The next day, driving to work, I started thinking about it all. I thought how cool it was that my son cared enough about a book he read to seek it out and them to recommend it to others.
Isn’t that what I want? I have a child who was passionate about something that means a lot to me – a book – and then shared that with me. What an amazing gift.
I am thankful I opened my eyes to see it.