Our children don’t get hooked on the children’s books we loved when we were their age.
Why can’t our children, even if they are good readers, manage to read the books, novels, adventures that we read as children?
Viviane and Romeo, your little bookworms, are jumping up and down: tomorrow you are going to the Salon du Livre. “Happy parents!” your friends say to each other, tensed by the famous “N. goddess”. Yet, you know there’s one thing that bothers you… I’ll tell you what it is.
Blood and tears
Like in toy stores, with their pink Barbie zone and their camouflage G-I-Joe zone, children’s literature is based on very established (marketed) formulas where the gendered divide is very present. However, we have to admit that girls transgress the codes quite a bit and also love Harry Potter and the Baudelaire orphans. This is less true for boys, who are not very passionate about adventures of horsewomen (such as the series “ponies to share”).
Harry Potter in 6 volumes: pounds of stories
To your great surprise, today’s young readers are swallowing up huge chunks of books. If possible written in series of 7 tomes: it is the usual dose, a little addictive, moreover, and financially dizzying. It’s because authors offer them and they like it. Already well formatted to like TV series, some will say, in front of this reinforced taste for “the next issue”.
First difference with you, once satisfied by a club of 5 from the Green Library
Second difference, they read, it seems, horrors: “The Scarecrow”, stories of vampires, of children locked up, lost, always orphans… that do not disturb their sleep in any way.
“Your kids are armored, waterproof!”, their grandfather, a 60-year-old who prefers to talk to them about ecology and solidarity, tells you. In our children’s books, the world is more like Mad Maxian: the outstretched hand often has a scythe to make contact. No, they are not armored. These universes are in fact jubilant because they are implausible. Having experienced this with two young readers (around 10 years old), a Maigret TV movie, with its silences and slowness, scares them much more than “The Eye of the Golem”.
The missing link
In short, you feel that while you are very proud to have two avid readers at home, there is something missing from your life as a parent. Well, here it is:
Vivian and Romeo refuse to read your childhood books
and you, quick to pay for your children’s books (it’s VERY rewarding, isn’t it? ;D), have never taken the time to enter the well oozing with anxiety through which your little ones are invited to go into their stories.
It bores them, the investigations of Alice. It puts you off, those thousands of pages of fantasy. Anyway, books at home are not the problem. The missing link is the exchange between readers of the same family that never starts.
– Consider going to events like the Salon du Livre with your family. There are many of these throughout France. Even better, there are children’s book fairs! It’s an opportunity to browse in large size but also to meet the authors. A signing is a treasure for the little ones. This time, it is a tangible, real link with literature;
– Find out about the events in your local media library;
– IMPORTANT: teach them how to read the back cover, and then how to sound out a book. It’s a job to become a reader!
– “The strength is in you…parent!” => Remember that “Nintendo” means:
“Give heaven a chance”!
There are books, before and after the console.
Two indispensable sites
Ricochet, a fabulous database of books, which I had already mentioned in another article
Talents Hauts, a young publishing house that publishes albums free of sexist stereotypes (it’s a lot of work!!!)
Similar challenges are waiting for you with music: “Smartphone: inject some musical culture”.