After my first ever visit to BEA last week, I picked up the kids and announced that I had a lot of books for them. Cue applause. No really, there was actual applause. As soon as we got home, my daughter spread out all the books on the living room floor, counted them up, and announced, “You only got 16!” That was around 3:15pm. By 10pm when I called lights out, she had already finished two novels. NOVELS. And in between, she had to do homework, violin practice, have dinner, and shower. So she’s a reader. My son…well, he’s getting there.
So when my daughter asked to borrow my copy of The Fault In Our Stars, you’d think I just handed it over without a second thought. Nope. She’s 11, and I think that’s just not appropriate for her. “But some of my friends in class are reading it.” Still nope. And then I wondered if I was like one of those hey let’s ban all the books! kinds of parents, and if this is how it starts–by deciding that it’s not appropriate for my kid, and therefore not appropriate for any of them. I suggested she read the signed copy of Seeing Red that I procured from Kathy Erskine just for her. (Kathy even sent stickers.) The poor kid just looked disappointed, which is when I relented, but with one caveat. “If you read anything that you don’t understand and want to talk about it, you let me know,” I said. Her eyes went wide, but she walked away looking very pleased with herself.
The jury is still out on this one. I mean if she came and asked me to read Lolita, would I let her? Clearly I’m a wuss when it comes to my kids and books, so yeah, probably. Besides, I think that some of that stuff is going to go right over her head. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.