Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Good literature


Goodness gracious, at any given point in time we have a pile of these books in our home.

Anna loves them.  Thus she likes to photograph them.

I do not.

There's nothing inherently WRONG with them, but...well...it's just filler.  No great plots, or characters, or new vocabulary words, or even silly laughs.  No redeeming qualities at all, except that they are entertainment, I suppose.  "Light reading" for a six year old.  (Picture me shaking my head.)

Part of my issue is that Anna's reading level is far beyond these books.  But she adores them.  And any time Kevin takes her along to pick up our latest bounty at the library, she somehow knows where to find them and comes home with several in tow.

And proceeds to read every last one of them, in rapid succession, when she walks through the door.

No joke.  She plants herself either on the floor or on the couch, and doesn't get up until all of them are done.

I guess you can tell that I'm not one of those moms that will be rejoicing over my fourteen year old reading Cosmo, saying "Well at least she's reading!"  Nope, not so much.

Content matters.  It matters in what we read, what we watch, and in our hearts.  Funny how those things are all linked together.

The truth is that I love children's fiction.  Love.it.  Some of my fondest memories of childhood include good books that I read.  I love silly kid books with lots of pictures and I love the classics like Treasure Island or The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  I love more recent classics like Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry and stuff by Scott O'Dell or Roald Dahl or Elizabeth George Spear. 

But I'm not as in love with fluffy-ish books like these.

However, because Anna reads tons of good books otherwise and there's NOT anything particularly wrong with the fairy princesses (or whatever they are), we let her check them out.  She has a good time and because she blows through them so quickly, she doesn't actually spend that much time reading them.  And, I have to admit that I had quite a penchant for The Babysitters Club books as a kid, and I don't really think one can argue that those are in any way quality literature.  Even though I loved 'em, and may or may not have a huge collection sitting out in my garage right now.  (I liked Dawn and Kristy the best.  How about you?  And don't try to pretend you didn't read them, because I know that you did.  So stop it.)

Our family has slowly-but-surely been going through L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and we only have one chapter to go.  Such a fun story.  Not sure what we'll do next, but you can bet it will NOT be about any sort of Valentine fairy! 

(Though I do need to mention that the upside is, when Anna reads these, she's not asking me why Abraham lied about Sarah, saying she was his sister.  That only happens when, um, she's reading the Bible.  Which contains various things that are just not kid-tested or mother-approved!)


10 comments:

this is us said...

Mia loved these books - did the same thing - came home with stacks while I bemoaned the lack of a desire for good literature. I'm sure Jaso will love them too. : )

Thankfully, our kids get plenty of good literature and will soon know enough learn to tell the difference themselves!

(though I will say that Mia still prefers that I read the good stuff aloud to her) : )

excitedtobeafamily said...

I am laughing over here because I could have written the same post about my just turned seven year old! Ugh! Those books drive me crazy! Thankfully she isn't as interested just lately and she likes quality literature better. She is current on her third non-stop reading of the Narnia series. It makes me feel better! Her other favorites that have been read over and over are all the books in the Little House on the Prarie, Charlotte's Web, Heidi, the Boxcar Children, and The Trumpet of the Swan. I bet your kids would love The Trumpet of the Swan. And yes, I LOVED the babysitters club. I think Claudia was my favorite. Too funny!

Cat said...

I always felt the same way, but I have been reading the Real Aloud Handbook (http://www.amazon.com/Read-Aloud-Handbook-Sixth-Jim-Trelease/dp/0143037390/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1288118471&sr=8-1) and it discusses the value of such books (mainly with regards to ELL students, but I think some of the same concepts apply) - because the stories are predictable and kids can whip through them, they are reading SO MANY words. And even if "fluff," there is value in that. :)

Anyway, just thought I'd throw out a potential upside. And yes, I did read the Babysitters Club. Who didn't?

FullPlateMom said...

I liked Claudia. My kids read fluff ALL THE TIME. You're not alone.

--Becky

Shilo Taylor said...

When I read your first paragraph, the Babysitter's Club popped into my mind immediately! Dawn was my favorite. By far. ;)

Shannon said...

I think I liked Stacy.
One of my good friends and I were pretty obsessed with Babysitter Club books for awhile.

Christal said...

Is it sad that my ELL 5th graders read the same books as your 6 year old? :)

Penny Malley said...

We call those "candy books"... you know, they're appealing but not filling. Katie always used to want those books at the library. I finally made a deal with her that for every "good" book she read, she could read a candy book. I thought that was fair because the god literature takes longer to read, then when she finished, she could plop down on her bed and read her candy book in no time flat. :-)

Emily B. said...

Hey. I get it. I LOVE chick-lit (single british gal against the big dark world. Meets handsome guy...)

But I'm with you that kids shouldn't read only fluff. A little fluff, OK. ALL fluff- major problem.

And I loved Dawn too. Babysitters rule. I also loved the SweetValley High books. Those girls were the best ;)

Vicky said...

Mary Anne was my favorite, followed closely by Mallory (more because I envied her large family... who, for some reason, traveled in two station wagons instead of a van?).

I only recently got rid of my extensive BSC collection. It was a little bit sad to let them go.

 

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