I mentioned in a previous post how pleased I am that my daughter, Sylvia, is reading independently now. The best thing about having a kid who reads on her own is that it really does greatly expand our options as far as what books we can get for her. When looking at a new title, I no longer have to think about whether or not it’s a story that I feel like reading at bedtimes or if it’s something that will be too difficult or intimidating for Sylvia to read on her own, which is great.
The downside to this, however, is that I think a lot more now about what she is learning from what she reads. Most picture books and early reader titles are inoffensive–they’re simple stories to entertain, common fairy tales, or geared toward teaching kids the basics of literacy. When you start getting into books for older children, you’re more likely to find problematic messages about any number of issues–religion, gender, race, relationships, and so on–and I think it’s important for parents to be involved in what their children are reading.
In general, I’m pretty laissez-faire about what Sylvia reads. For the most part, I feel like if she is capable of reading something and if she wants to read it she’s welcome to read any book in our home. Hopefully she’ll stay away from Game of Thrones for a few more years, but I’d probably let her try to read it if she grabbed it off the shelf. When she has school book fairs, I’ve made it a habit to give her $5 each time, and I trust her to pick out a book or two on her own. Rather than policing the reading material she has access to, I prefer to be aware of what she has, read her books myself if I’m concerned about the content, and make sure that I or my partner talk to her about what she is reading, her opinions on it, and what she thinks she is learning from it. Continue reading
I absolutely love that my daughter has finally developed a real love of reading. I was honestly worried when Sylvia was younger that she just wasn’t going to be much of a reader. She always read well, but (unlike me, when I was a child) she just never seemed terribly interested in the books I bought her, preferring instead to watch movies, ride her scooter, play board games, color, or do puzzles–all of which Sylvia is quite good at, but still. I worried.
This year, I think she finally hit some critical mass of reading fluency, and she now reads much more than she used to. When she isn’t playing computer games, hanging out with kids in our neighborhood, or working through her unfinished math workbooks from school (she does this for fun–for real), Sylvia reads quietly in her room. Often, she reads aloud to her stuffed animals, setting up a classroom on a blanket. She doesn’t like an audience when she’s reading, but it’s nice to know that she is doing it.
When I was worrying about it, I tried at first to encourage her verbally. Then I tried to just make sure that she had a wide variety of books to choose from. Then I tried making her read–for a few minutes while I made dinner or as a condition of getting to watch a movie. Then I worried that I was making reading seem like a punishment, so I stopped. I thought for a while that maybe her refusal to read was my fault–I read a lot myself, and I thought maybe not reading was Sylvia’s little rebellion. Continue reading
Today, I came home to find one of my very favorite things: a box of books from Amazon. Last week, I ordered a few books that are going to be Christmas gifts for my daughter; they have arrived, and I am very pleased with all of them. To celebrate (and to distract myself from reading them all immediately), I thought I would make a list of some of my favorite children’s books for secular families.
My daughter, Sylvia, turned 8 in April, and she’s reading far above her grade level now. This has opened up a whole new world of possibilities as far as books are concerned, but as she reads more and more it has also meant more work for me as a parent–selecting books to buy for her, being aware of things she is reading so we can talk about them, and trying to ensure that I am making the most of my (very) limited buying power to provide a good mix of titles that she will enjoy and learn from. We still read at bedtime every night, so I also try to buy books that we can enjoy as a family.
This list includes titles suitable for several age groups, with what I hope is a good mix of fiction and non-fiction. I’m going to break it into two or three parts because it’s going to be lengthy. Continue reading
I don’t read as much Arthurian legend as I used to, but my love for that mythology is one that I don’t think will ever truly die. A few years ago, I went through a rather long phase where I read nearly every King Arthur story I could get my hands on. I read T.H. White’s The Once and Future King. I read J. Robert King’s Mad Merlin and Lancelot Du Lethe (but not his Le Morte D’Avalon, yet). A.A. Attanasio’s The Dragon and the Unicorn (and its sequels) were challenging but rewarding. I can’t even recall all the less notable and more poorly written books I read, honestly. Regardless, I somehow managed to make it through all of this phase without reading Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon.
The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
A few weeks ago, I was browsing through Amazon, growing my Wishlist to an even more preposterous size than it already was, when Mists popped up as a recommendation. I was familiar with the title, having worked in a bookstore for a couple of years and being a prolific reader, but I didn’t really know what the book was about other than that it was a retelling of the King Arthur story that was centered on the women characters of the legend. Thinking to myself that it had been a while since I’d read a good King Arthur story, I clicked through and started reading through some of the Amazon reviews. Continue reading
Her family hired me as a maid for 12 years, but then she stole my life and made it a Disney movie | Mail Online
So, apparently, Kathryn Stockett is an even worse person than I would have expected of someone responsible for the racist shitpile that was The Help.
The character Skeeter’s exploitation of the black maids in the book/movie is topped by Ms. Stockett’s own exploitative actions.