A recent visit to a local bookstore, on a rainy Wednesday morning, I noticed something very interesting while observing all the kids and parents shopping for their next book purchase:
There are Children’s Books made for adults, and there are those that are truly made for kids.
• Most parents are attracted to anything with a medal or an award- Kids don’t care about this too much.
• Most parents gravitate to covers with subdued color palates- Kids to bright and fun colors.
• Most parents pick up complex illustrated/typographic styles- Kids pick up what makes them smile.
• Parents look for sophistication/cleverness in a concept or title- Kids look for what they like. If the kid likes cats- they will go for the cat book, space- they will go for the space book….you get the idea.
• Positioning- All these “adult” children's books were placed roughly 4 feet and up in the store. The fun and colorful children's books were displayed lower.
Why is this all important? Choosing what you want to read is far different than choosing what your child would like to read.
Bottom line is that as adults, we want to encourage reading, thinking, learning, love of knowledge, and becoming whoever they are going to grow to become!
As the parent or educator, through book choices and reactions (both positive and negative) to certain books, we are not always creating the most inviting reading environment.
Children choose based on them- what sparks their imagination, what makes them interested. Letting the child choose what they like will build a positive environment to find another book that makes them feel the same positive feelings in the future.
By choosing readings that make kids feel neutral, negative, bored, confused- makes them resistant to the reading experience and worse- uninterested.
Be careful not to (unknowingly of course) make books bad.
Think back to when you were in school, was there a book that deterred you from reading?
For me it was The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Giving Tree.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar- The illustrative style was never acceptable to me as a child; flat, it wasn't fun to look at, it’s a snooze on each page, the caterpillar doesn’t look like a caterpillar, the colors are not appealing, and the caterpillar has zero personality. On top of that- I didn’t feel anything towards the caterpillar and he is the main character! I had nothing to connect with. Reading this in school made me feel the same way about reading time- uninterested and not connected.
The Giving Tree was just plain depressing. I can still put myself back into that classroom and think about how I felt; bored, negative, and sad. For my imaginative, fun-loving, bright personality, that book quite literally rained on my parade. It made me dislike being in the classroom. Luckily for me I would return home to a Mom that would re-instill my faith back in the fun of knowledge, but not every little one has that good fortune.
Indulge imagination! Fulfill interest! Try to remain neutral in your feelings toward a certain title or topic: no putting down, or inflating any specific titles. Just have fun picking things out! Whether kids want a comic, a nature book, a magazine, poetry… there really isn't any bad choice!
So next time you pick up a book, ask yourself, “Is this a Adult-Children’s Book, or a Children’s-Children’s Book?” And better yet, let the little one be the judge!
Note from SRP:
Here is to a world of thinking a little bit different. A world of imagination, innovation, encouragement, intelligence, and creativity! Let's get learning!