My two daughters went through a long spell where they just weren’t really reading, and I cannot even tell you how sad that made me. I mean, these are MY kids; they can’t go around not reading books! I blamed it on teenagerism.
But lately … they’ve been reading again!!
My oldest is funny. She has all these qualifications, like she has to let me know she’s not really a reader. She’s a huge fan of anime and she’s always read a bit of manga, but lately she’s been reading light novels. In case you’re not aware (I wasn’t), light novels are Japanese books aimed at a YA or MG audience. They’re usually relatively short (around 250-300 pages) and they typically have at least a few manga-style pictures. They’re often made into anime (which is what got my daughter into them—she wanted to find out what happens in some of the anime that haven’t caught up with the books). Dani over at Perspective of a Writer actually did a whole post about light novels, if you want to know more about them.
My daughter likes to point out that she only reads light novels—as if it’s a special sort of reading that I might disapprove of. Nope! I’m like, “They’re books, and you’re enjoying them and reading them voraciously, and my heart is so happy!!” Some of these series have like 13 books in them, so she’s actually been reading A LOT. And, it’s the one time she can get me to buy her stuff out of the blue. Want a video game? Buy it yourself. Oh, you want a book? Here, let me buy them ALL for you! LOL!
My younger daughter had complicated reasons for not really reading much anymore. She had a favorite middle grade series (the Warriors Series by Erin Hunter) that was about a bajillion books long and she’d read those books over and over again. But she was sort of outgrowing most middle grade and found herself not really interested in YA books. She was a pretty sensitive kid, and books that had a lot of violence in them (that wasn’t of the cat-variety—like her favorite series) kind of disturbed her. That took fantasy mostly off the table. She also wasn’t interested (or ready for) books with sexual content or even a lot of swearing or difficult themes of abuse or mental health or anything like that. If she even got a whiff of those sorts of themes in the synopsis, she’d look at me like I was handing her a grenade. (When I tried to give her a fantasy or two that I loved she’d say, “Mom, those are murder books.” Yikes! Way to make a mom feel guilty for trying to destroy her daughter’s delicate psyche.) Of course, I didn’t want to disrespect her own choices about what she was ready to read, so I tried hard to give her a few books that were written for the younger YA crowd that I thought she’d enjoy, but my choices were pretty limited. This worked sometimes, but mostly, she just sort of drifted away from reading for a while.
But now my daughter is just finishing up her sophomore year of high school and she’s finally coming around to YA. It started with her reading The Lunar Chronicles—Cinder was a great way for her to dip her toes into YA fantasy, and she loved it. After that, she was asking me for more stuff to read!! Now, during this quarantine, she’s already read three YA books and the first two books of the Harry Potter Series (which I could never get her to read before)! I’m so excited!!
Luckily, my youngest still LOVES books. He has some special needs and isn’t able to read a lot of books at his level, but he listens to books constantly. He is an audiobook fiend! Last year, he listened to almost 70 books!! I just hope it lasts…
But if it doesn’t, I can take solace in the fact that at some point he’ll probably come back to reading, just like my other two have. I like to think that I’ve ingrained books into my kids’ lives and I truly hope they’ll be lifelong readers!
Do you have kids? Are they readers? Have you ever gone through periods where you just stopped reading for a while? I want to know!
This post has been linked up to the 2020 Book Blog Discussion Challenge.