"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. " -Helen Keller

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Guest Post: Young Readers Day

Hi all!
Kristin is going to BlogHer (lucky duck!) and asked if I would do a guest post. After squeeing and feeling pretty good I worried about what to write. After I looked through what was in draft on my site and found NOTHING that I wanted to share. Finally, I decided that I wanted to share this post that I wrote way back in 2008 about a bizarre holiday called Young Readers Day. Confession, when I started blogging I didn't know WHAT to write about so I found a few websites and a calendar that shared weird and crazy holidays and had at it. Now I don't write about these crazy holidays so much. I miss it. Here is one of my favorites.

Today, November 14th is Young Readers Day!

Who exactly is the Young Reader?

Well, according to the library conference that I recently attended, FEMALE young readers will give anything a go however MALE young readers are almost non-existent choosing to skateboard and play video games and other non-reading booky type of stuff.

My house is full of bibliophiles ($5 word!) and we loves our words. As a young(ish) reader, a person who tends to view book related business with rose colored glasses (a library type) and, in an effort to be fair to all, let me spotlight the young readers that I know.

Arli, age 3 and a half.
Picks out Corduroy by Don Freeman.
"Can you read me this book?"
Demands to sit on lap and "helps" to hold the book.
On page 5 (this book starts on page 5) questions why the little girl in picture has one leg. Also wonders why people on escalator has no facial features.
Page 6: tells me that the little girl will buy the bear.
Page 12 and 13: Shrieks as Corduroy goes up the escalator.
Page 15: Asks if I'm tired when I see all of the beds. Picks out the one she likes best and demands I do the same. Pouts when I choose the bed with heart shaped frame and informs me we will share.
Page 17: Tells me the button Corduroy tries to pull off of a mattress is not his.
Page 21: Asks why the guard is fat.
Page 25: Pretends to sleep like the characters in book. Snores softly for extra emphasis.Page 29: Asks if the little girl lives alone.
Page 30: Points out Corduroy's bed. Tells me she wants one for her dolls and bears.
Page 32: Read it again!

Dylan, age 7.
Although he could possibly be classified as one of the elusive MALE readers I am happy to report that Dylan likes to read. While his tastes in books are quite simple, he picks them out and reads them over and over and over again.
His favorites include dogs solving mysteries, mice on motorcycles and mice running newspapers (Jack Russell Mysteries, Beverly Cleary's Ralph S Mouse series and Geronimo Stilton). His vocab is now peppered with his sister TERRORIZING him, and how CURIOUS things he doesn't understand are. He likes to INTERROGATE his sister if he thinks she is in his things (she usually isn't) and wants to CRACK the case when he feels wronged.
His desire to read was sparked in part by a competitive streak from his cousin, my daughter:

Madison, age 8.
Madison: Does your library have Bone?
Me: (excited because it is not a Rainbow Magic book!)Uh, our copy may be out but I will order one for you.
Madison: OK. (Spies large print copy of The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald) I am going to read this. The print is large enough that I don't need my glasses.
Me: Read this first page.
First page read.
Me: Do you understand what you are reading?
Madison: No, but I am going to try it anyway.
Me (trying to remember the plot. Wasn't there something about affairs, murders and various other illegal activities?): Let's find another book. What about this mermaid book?
Madison: No thank you.
Me: Dear Dumb Diary?
Madison: No, I read that one.
Me: Baby Mouse?
Madison: I read them all! (Eight year old attitude now!)
Me: [crickets]
Me: OK, circle the words you don't know and we can go over them together.
Madison: OK
Some time the next week.
Me: How is Great Gatsby?
Madison: I can't find it so I'm gonna read this: Pulls out a Tinkerbell book.
Me (silently): Yes!(out loud) no more Gatsby?
Madison: You found it? Yeah, I still want it.
Me: D'oh!

Gloria, age 13Gloria has just discovered interlibrary loan at her local library (this despite the fact that her aunt is a library type-go figure!) and has discovered that genre called Urban Fiction. She was reading through all of the Drama High and Imani Tru series (both could be considered Urban Lite for teens) but has since discovered True to the Game by Terri Woods. She and her friends are devouring these books!
Her mom is all a twitter: "I hate these books! How many ways do you say the same thing: She had on bling, bling, and met a baller?"
Me: Teens and 'tweens are drama queens and like to read about people similar to them.
Sister: (in a major hissy)Whatever!
Me: [crickets].

I am of the mindset of at least she is reading for pleasure and SHE IS READING! After speaking with some people who know way more about everything, we come to the conclusion that this is a fad and will change. After Gloria met with some other teens, who also write as she does, she is venturing into Science Fiction, and those coming of age stories her mom describes as plot that has a sad teen growing up too fast or too slow.
Me: What's that book about (gesturing towards an Avi book)
Gloria: (visibly excited) It's called Curious and proceeds to give a very, very VERY descriptive and flowing book review.
Me: Best day of job!New reader!

Me, age 35
So many books, so little time.
Bookmercials, of the last few books that I can remember off the cuff, in 15 words or less:
Casanegra by Blair Underwood with Tananarive Due & Steven Barnes: Hot and Steamy whodunit.
Shining City by Seth Greenland: Toy maker turns pimp.
The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian: Pictures cause a young woman to obsess. Refer to Great Gatsby.
The Abs Diet by David Zinzenko: Can't type, tummy hurts!
Faithless by Karin Slaughter: Small town gets ripped apart by murder!
Flabby Tabby by Penny Mckinley: Fat cat loses weight so that he can keep up with young kitty.
Exit Music by Ian Rankin: The last Rebus. [sniff!]
So there it is. A few of my favorite young readers with how they like to read and what they are reading.
Enjoy your day!


Mrs. Gamgee said...

Great guest post!

There's actually a local school that does it's own Young (Male) Reader day. It's actually something that their phys ed teacher started. The 6th graders are divided, girls and boys. The girls have a "Go Girl Go" day that emphasizes physical activity and the boys have a "Read Boy Read" day. Because that's about the age when girls stop being active and when boys stop reading for pleasure (in general). The boys are brought to the bookstore I used to work at and given a tour of the young reader/teen reader sections, and one of our more energetic staff would give them all sorts of info about books written for a male audience.

The event has actually been very successful and I know of several boys who became semi regular customers/readers because of it.

(sorry for the ramble)

Kristin said...

I'm lucky enough to live in a house full of readers too. All three of my boys and my husband love to read almost as much as I do.