Last night I went to the second Harry Potter Club meeting of the year. The meeting revolved around “Harry Potter and You” – or, how Harry Potter has affected our lives.
A lot of people talked about how their families would all sit and read the books aloud together. Or, alternatively, how family members would fight over copies of the books. Others talked about how they never liked to read…and then they read Harry Potter. My little brother is one of those. He really does like to read, but it’s really hard to find things that will keep his attention long enough for him to finish. (Harry Potter, Pendragon, Percy Jackson, and the Inheritance books are the ones he reads over and over again. Does anyone know of anything else out there in that vein?)
I had a similar experience when I was in first or second grade. It was clear from the time we were split up into reading groups in first grade that my reading level was very advanced compared to the rest of my classmates. I read the Boxcar Children books initially, but soon ran out of those. What was there for me to read next? My mom thought I might like the Little House books. So she brought home Little House on the Prairie for me to read. I finished it in two days. I still have my copies of every single book in the series at my mom’s house (despite her attempts to convince me to part with them, which will never happen), and that now beat-up and yellowed copy my mom gave me 15 years ago is in my room up here.
Given how important I think it is for children and adolescents to read, and how hard it can be sometimes to convince them to do this, I don’t like to trash books as “bad”. Do I disagree with how Stephenie Meyer chooses to portray Bella’s relationships with Jacob and Edward in the Twilight saga? Yes. Yes, I do, because I think it sends a negative message to teenage girls, and I’m very glad my sister has enough common sense to realize how creepy Edward is, and that dating a guy like that in real life is probably a Bad Idea. But if it gets teenagers reading, then I’m going to support that. Because at least they’re reading.
What were the books that got everyone else reading?