To Read or Not To Read...

As an avid book lover (see photographic proof here), I have always sworn that I will never censor anything my daughter wants to read. Do I hope to push her towards certain types of books? Yes. Will I encourage a variety of genres? Yes. Will I push her towards fantasy with strong female characters? Yes. Will I also dissuade her from the less empowering works out there? No. 
This picture is not related to the content, I just think she is ridiculously adorable.

As an English teacher I have always been of the opinion that any book that gets a kid to read is a good book. As a mom, I hold to this same opinion. I can freely admit that I was sucked in to the Twilight craze many moons ago, and why not?  They were fluff, a diversion, fun. This was pre-daughter though.... And I read them as a twenty something grown up with an already pretty well developed sense of self. Did I find Bella Swan to be dreadful and boring. Yep. (Kristen Stewart really nails that simpering bore quality in the horrid movies.) I think the 4th book really sealed the deal for me. I dislike Mary Sue characters anyway, so Bella's complete transformation from wimpy girl to super vampire was less than pleasing. (Especially since she did not actually do ANYTHING with her "shield" powers.) At the end of the day though, do I dislike these books? No. I think they are what they are--beach reads. Do I want my daughter reading it at age 4, 7, or even 11?, not really. Will I keep her from reading it? No. I will, however, re-read them with her so we can discuss the themes and relationships between the characters.

I want her to grow up reading books that inspire her. Fantasy is a good thing. It breeds imagination, and I think that people without imagination are dreadfully dull. (I have a friend who thinks I have no imagination because I don't like animals that aren't normal animal colors ;) but I do have a very vivid imagination, in large part due to the vast amount of reading I did as a child.) I want her to read Sci-Fi, Classics, Poetry, Westerns, Horror. As she grows, I hope she will share my love of biographies and memoirs. I want her to know and understand that books open doors. I hope that she will still want to go on treasure hunts with me to the fantastic old opera house that is a now a recycled book store even when she is older. She loves books now, and I think it is my job as a parent to grow that love.

I sincerely hope that she will be interested in reading the same books I loved (some as a child, some as an adult). I have even compiled a list. These are the books I want her to devour. She can save the fluff for the beach.

15. Where the Red Fern Grows
14. Emma
13. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
12. The Amelia Bedelia Books
11. A Wrinkle in Time
10. Catherine Called Birdy
9.  The Harry Potter Series
8. The Princess Bride
7. The Hunger Games
6. The Secret Garden
5. Little Women
4. Coraline
3. His Dark Materials Trilogy
2. Charlotte's Web
1. Anything by Roald Dahl

What books are must reads for your children? Are there books out there you don't want them reading at all? Leave a comment!

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