I have 2 kids, a girl aged 11 and a boy aged 9 (as of when I established the site in February 2012. Time will do its thing).
My girl is a precocious and voracious reader, so starting around age 7 or 8, she was whipping through the 10 chapter, 100 page books aimed at early readers. But finding longer, more challenging books that still had appropriate content was really hard. They’re out there, but I had to preview several books for each one I gave her. Our current problem is that she’s intrigued by many of the YA books out there, and in many ways they’re marketed straight at her age group. But there’s such a variety of content, and there are some themes and some content that I’d prefer she not handle alone. At the very least, I want to know what topics I should be preparing myself to discuss!
My boy is a picky reader. For every 10 books he starts, he’ll actually finish maybe 1 or 2. It’s hard for me to pick out books he’ll love, so I need a huge pile of things to offer him. This can get difficult.
Talking to other parents, my issues are far from unique. In a perfect world, we’d be able to preview everything so we could offer our kids books that are appropriate to their ages, interests, and reading abilities. I hope this site at least helps you make a more educated decision.
I have a degree in children’s literature. Seriously. OK, that’s not actually what it says on the paper (it’s technically a M.S. in Curriculum & Instruction), but I spent two years studying how we use story to socialize children.
My thesis was on how the story of Sleeping Beauty changed through the years in relation to how culture was changing. I did an independent study on six of Dr. Seuss’ primary cultural allegories (How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Lorax, The Butter Battle Book, Yertle the Turtle, The Sneetches, and Horton Hears a Who, in case you were wondering).
I still enjoy reading books intended for children, and I think it’s incredibly important that we offer kids good stories. Not only the dark ones—such as those that include death, abuse, and/or other tough life lessons—but well-written funny and touching ones as well.
I’m enjoying this opportunity to put my degree to work.
I’ve taught 7th, 8th, and 10th grade literature and I know how hard it can be to get kids to engage with a book. I also know how magical it can be when they do.
Currently, I’m a freelance editor. It’s my job to look at writing, to critique it objectively, and to think about what’s good and what could be better. Since I’m always doing that anyway, it’s fun to put these skills to work in a way that lets me engage with my kids and hopefully gets some good conversations going with other parents.