Okay, I’m going to admit something an author should probably never admit: As a child, I didn’t like to read. It’s not that I had problems decoding—I just would rather have been doing something else. Like playing ball outside, or watching TV. I was one of those people (cringe), who used to say, “I’ll watch it (the book) when the movie comes out.”
I could not understand kids with their noses buried in books … it was just so uninteresting to me. And therein lies the key: there were very few people introducing me to good books, books I would enjoy.
I went to a small country school for the first eight years of my education. We had no library, no librarian, no book talks or visiting authors—just the bookshelf under the window. My family didn’t visit the city library. While I remember the excitement of first learning to read and I LOVED all Dr. Seuss books, I had a teacher in second and third grade who didn’t want us to read Seuss, she considered them bad books, for some reason. So I read all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books on the shelf, which she didn’t particularly care for, either.
Those early years were not totally devoid of books. There were a few teachers who read books aloud, fifteen minutes after lunch each day. I remember Charlotte’s Web and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I wish more people would have suggested good titles to me. I adored Anne of Green Gables, but somehow never read any of the other Anne books.
When I had my own kids, I set about to teach them to love reading at an early age, and love reading they do. When they were little we subscribed to Children’s Book of the Month Club, and attended library story time on a weekly basis. Before the traveling Bookmobile went under due to budget cuts, we eagerly walked the four blocks to see what books might be on board that day. The librarians knew us by name and sometimes gave the kids advance copies as gifts.
At home, if I had a book I thought my kids should read or would enjoy, like To Kill A Mockingbird, I’d start reading it out loud to them, and then stop on account of a tired voice. More often than not, the book would be ripped from my hands and finished within a few days.
When the picture books are set aside and the kids are reading on their own, be ready to help them find books they’ll love. This of course will be different for everyone according to their interests. As mentioned earlier, I loved Charlotte’s Web, Anne of Green Gables, The Chronicles of Narnia. Later on I discovered The Little House on the Prairie series, Heidi, The Giver, The House of the Scorpion, Fahrenheit 451, Little Women, The Little Princess, The Hobbit, etc. My son loved the Warrior Cat series.
What will be your child’s favorite next book?
Despite all the new gadgets kids are accosted with these day, there has also never been such a great opportunity for them as readers. Social networking sites allow readers to “shelve” their favorite books, form groups, and share reviews (Goodreads, Shelfari, LibraryThing), making it easy to find books each individual might enjoy. There is even a site (probably several) for kids called Biblionasium. In addition, thousands of blogs, websites, and Facebook pages help parents and kids find good books. And with Kindles and free ebooks you don’t even have to spend the money like I did with Book of the Month Club. Then of course, the library has always been there for that; thank goodness for libraries and librarians :).
Still looking for some good reads for the children for summer? Try the Linky list at the bottom of this post.
Today through May 19, you can enter to win a signed paperback edition of one of my two books, Seed Savers: Treasure, or Seed Savers: Lily.
In a future where growing your own food is against the law, three friends risk their safety by studying the illegal subject of gardening. The children’s mentor, an elderly acquaintance named Ana, entices them with her description of the food she knew as a child—food unlike the square, processed, packaged food they have always known. Constantly watching, however, is GRIM, the government agency that controls the nation’s food source and keeps in check all potential troublemakers. When Clare and Dante return home one day to find their tomato plant seized, and their mother jailed, they bolt. Clare has heard of a place called “The Garden State,” and with their bikes, a little money, and backpacks, the children begin a lonely cross-country journey that tests them both physically and spiritually. Will they succeed in their quest to find a place of food freedom? And can they, only children, help change the world?
Three winners will be chosen via random.org and the Giveaway is open internationally. The winners will be contacted by email and posted on AuthorSSmith Facebook page.
AND I ALMOST FORGOT, I’VE DECIDED TO PUT BOTH BOOKS ON SALE FOR THE DURATION OF THE WEEK! The Kindle versions are both $2.99 for Children’s Book Week, instead of the usual $4.99 price.
Ways to Enter
1) Leave a comment and your email in the comment section below answering this question: What was one of your favorite books as a young reader?
2) Sign up to receive my newsletter updates.
4) If you have already read either of the books, leave a review on Amazon (worth 3 entries.) If you do this, please send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that I know which review is yours.
Click here to view the Linky list which will continue you on your way to visit more blogs and sign up for more giveaways!
S.Smith is the author of the awesome middle grade series, Seed Savers. Visit her Pinterest and Facebook pages. Sign up for the newsletter!