Tip on how to keep talking to your kid: Read What Your Kid is Reading

I thought I was the only one. Well no, I guess I hadn’t thought about it at all. And come to think of it, thinking you’re the only one of anything is pretty darn presumptuous, so I retract that first statement without actually retracting it otherwise I would have no way to begin this post…

Okay. Folks, that is what is known as a false start. I’m better now and ready to begin.

I share books with my daughters. I recommend books that they should read based on, well, having read and liked them, and they are now beginning to do the same for me. I spent the Easter weekend reading the graphic novel series Amulet (recommended by my 9 year old) and Heartbeat, a novel in verse by Sharon Creech (recommended by me 11 year old). In turn, I throw so many books at them sometimes they must feel like they are on the losing side of a particularly uneven game of dodge ball. Or dodge book…

But here’s the funny thing about this phenomena. It didn’t occur to me until a few days ago, that I have long discussions over books with my daughters. They are both fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series; we have spent countless long walks talking about who is our favourite Greek God. I loved the Sharon Creech book; we talked about footnotes and forbidden words.

Let me reiterate ’cause it is so freakin’ phenomenal.

I have lengthy discussions with my children over books.

Now, if there is anything to give me hope for the teenage years, hope that we will be able to still talk to each other and respect each other’s opinion and listen to each other, it is this fact. They know I don’t recommend books to them I haven’t already read. They also know that if they reciprocate by suggesting I read something they loved, I will. My nine-year old isn’t as avid a reader as my older one (she might be though with time), but her face lit up when she received the second Amulet. And when she saw that I took her seriously, and read them too, her face lit up like the sparklers on her birthday cake. Granted, book conversations with her usually tend to be, “Who’s your favourite character, Mom?” But still.

What also gives me hope, is the girls at my work. And this is maybe why I finally clued in to this amazing fact in my own household and finally woke enough to be grateful about it: many of the teenage girls that I talk to at my work, give books they like to their mothers to read. And guess what? They read it. And I know they are having similar discussions to the ones in my household because they come back and say things like, “I really liked it but my mother read it and she thought it was depressing.” Or, “I couldn’t get into it so I gave it to my mother and she really liked it. Maybe I’ll give it another try.”

Seriously. Isn’t this about the most wonderful thing to know since finding out Rick Riordan’s new series about Egyptian Mythology comes out in May?

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