Let Kids Read What They Want For Goodness Sake

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Okay, I'm so fed up I need to rant to the world. If you've read my super awkward About Me post, you'll know that I'm a librarian, I was a weird, sad little kid and now I'm trying to make the world a better place for other weird, sad little kids and misunderstood teenagers.

Every single day, I watch parents try to force "real books" on their kids. It's driving me CRAZY. What in the heck does that even mean. Dear grown ups (because it's not always the parents) let your kids read whatever the heck they want. The other day, there was a little girl, maybe 12, in the library with her grandma. Her grandma was trying to force this girl to read a bunch of books the girl didn't want to read. Grandma's getting snappy, the little girl is beginning to retreat on herself, and somehow I wind up smack dab in the middle of this. Then, the little girl surprises me and begins to pick up books that look interesting to her. They're pink, with the title is sparkly script, and there's typically some precocious blonde on the cover, but who cares, the girl was holding up books she was willing to read. What does grandma do? Can you guess? She stars yelling at the girl, telling her she needs to read "real" books. The crazy thing is, she didn't even mean non-fiction. Did she want the 12 year old to read The Odyssey???? I DON'T KNOW. It drove me so crazy, I sent the girl off to go look in another isle, and took the grandma over to non-fiction, hoping it would make her happy.

THEN, this lady has the nerve ask me if I like reading, and how she can get her granddaughter to read more. I lost my mind. I was the most unprofessional I had ever been. I watched this little girl hold up four age appropriate chapter books that she wanted to read, and her grandma verbally crushed her. I said something along the lines of, "You're not making any sense. That girl picked up four perfectly age appropriate books that she wanted to read and you wouldn't let her. There's no such thing as real books and fake books. Every book in the world has the potential to tech you something, even if it's just how to be a good person. If you continue to dictate what she reads, she'll hate reading forever. Leave her alone, and let her read what she wants." Then I actually walked away.

I have never been so angry in my life. Here's how it typically works world. If a kid only wants to read Magic Tree House, let them. There will come a day when they pick up an I Survived book. They're read all of those a million times. There will come a day when that kid wants to branch out and find something new that's full of adventure and the librarian will give them The False Prince, that kid will become interested in Historical Fiction, and then they'll become interested in History, and then they'll become a teacher and live happily ever after. And it all began with a kid reading The Magic Tree House 9,000 times.

Let kids read what they want for goodness sake. They have so little control over their lives, let them have this one thing.

*End rant*


  1. That's so great you stood up to that woman! It's horrible to hear how she wouldn't let her granddaughter read what she wanted. I hate this stigma that young adult and children's books aren't "real" books or don't count as legitimate literature.

    Awesome post!

    Ashtyn @ Wonderland’s Reader!

    1. Thanks. It drove me absolutely insane because the little girl wanted to read. She just didn't want to read what her grandmother had chosen for her. *sigh* the trials and tribulations of a youth librarian.

      Thanks for dropping by!


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