Tuesday, September 14

I Love Books! (and Alex doesn't)

Every once and awhile you find the perfect book at the perfect moment. Everything about it from the cover and title to the pictures and story just scream that eternal YES! into the universe.

This weekend I went to the library with my sister - not the yuppie lawyer sister, the ditsy pre-school teacher sister*. We were selecting picture books for her classroom when I stumbled on this jewel of a book.

Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don't) is the perfect illustration of what it must be like for a book hater (named Alex) to be tortured by a book loving nut (named mom).

Really I could go on about it, but I think the title and the cover says it all. I spent the summer trying to cram every childhood classic, every new young adult fiction book into Alex's hands only to hear her say, "I don't like boy detective stories" and "I don't like books about girls who are age 8 or live on the prairie, or in Green Gables." And "No, I don't want to read about dragons or Egypt or museums or runaways or pirates or outsiders or cats or tree houses or fairies or goosebumps or box car children." If a book has been printed in English, I'm pretty sure Alex has turned her nose up at it.

Alex isn't me. I know this. Alex isn't a reader. I have gotten the hint. I guess I should be glade that she has found two series that she loves. She loves for me to read her Harry Potter, which is great because I love to read Harry Potter. She also loves Meg Cabott's Allie Finkle series, which tells me the kid has good taste. I guess I'm just sad that her love of books, so far has not extended beyond those two collections of characters. That there are whole worlds of people out there that she just refuses, for whatever reason, to even THINK about finding out about.

If I were smart, and I'm not, I would have learned to stop suggesting books. I'm pretty sure Alex's hatred of any one book directly correlates to the number of times I have sung its praises. If I were smart, and I'm not, I would just shut up about it all ready. At the end of Miss Brooks the girl does find that perfect book, just like when Alex FINALLY picked a book off her summer reading list (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) she loved it, and flew through it, and then begged for the rest of the series.

Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I don't) was such the perfect "Alex and me" story that did a little jig inside as I checked it. "Alex is going to hate this book!" I told my pre-school teaching sister. But I was still excited to read it to Alex. I was excited to share this perfect book I had found. And true to form, when I had read the last page, I looked at Alex and she didn't say a word. She gave me her classic, "what-did-I-do-to-deserve-this-torture" look. While I'm still sad that she didn't like it, or the other thousands of books I wish she would just look at, it was still a great "yep-I-know-my-daughter" moment.

* I think I should note, that when I describe my sisters as "ditsy" or "yuppie" I do so with love.

(and hat-tip to Goodreads.com for the image of the book)


The Bug said...

That sounds like a GREAT book. I love to read, but I'm also a person who doesn't like to be told that I'll like the book, or to be given books to read that I haven't picked out. I used to read the ones my mom "made" me read (this is as an adult), but I would complain to her (she liked Mary Higgins-Clark, which was fine, but she also liked tear jerkers, which I was uninterested in reading).

I guess just telling Alex she has to read SOMETHING & then letting that something be up to her is the best you can do. And keep those other books around. Eventually she might get bored & pick one up. I know I would.

Single and Sane said...

Isn't it too bad that Harry Potter isn't the magic bullet to get kids to read books in general? My nephews didn't learn to love reading until they were grown, so there's still hope for Alex!

Alissa said...

This book looks great! Thanks for the recommendation. I'm going to try and find it so that I can incorporate it into my next library storytime.

SY said...

I think you already know what you have to do but it easier said than done.

I started to love to read after I watch "Matilda"

I loved the thought that I could become powerful if read books.

Land of shimp said...

Aw, it is difficult when you're a reader, but your child isn't necessarily. Do keep in mind that Alex may be rejecting books precisely because you are trying to get her to love them. It's part of development, defining individuality :-)

My son loves to read, and so do I, but he very pointedly started enjoying things I'm not overly fond of myself. He's big on horror right now, and that makes me wince in dismay.

You know works a lot of the time? Go to the bookstore as a treat. Let her look around the children's section while you select a book from elsewhere in the store. Chances are it's simply that she wants to make her own, individual selections and she'll be begging for a specific book at the end of the trip (and if it's not in the budget, do the same thing at the library).

I feel for you, it's almost unnerving when your child doesn't love something you do. My son's area of individuality? The more my husband and I love a specific, the more he'll wrinkle his nose at it. Hehehe, everyone wants to be different from their parents, and everyone chooses an area to display that difference. For me it was a lack of interest in clothes :-) My mother LOVES clothes, and I, quite purposefully rejected an interest in them.

Jo said...

I loved to read when I was a little girl, and I still do. Perhaps Alex may be interested in non-fiction rather than fiction. Some kids are, for some reason.

But that does sound like a wonderful book.

Have you checked to see if she might have dyslexia? It's quite common, and may be the reason why she doesn't care for reading.

Katy said...

Yeah I think its worth mentioning that I have litterally left Alex to her own devises for up to an hour in a book store, only to find out that that particular major retailor only carries books that "No one in the world wants to read." I guess that's why they drove all those indepenent booksellers out of business...

Anyway so while I do make suggestions, its because left alone the kid picks nothing. And while I don't care what she picks, it does have to be something.

And the other weird thing about her? Is she can read. She reads really well and actually really fast. Of all the things she struggled with last year, the ability TO reading wasn't one of them.