The Witches!

The Avid Reader

Sam’s teachers call him an “avid reader.” “I’ve never had a child love to read like Sam,” one said last year.

You’d think my heart would ring with pride–that’s what my teachers said about me–but you’d be wrong, because I know the truth: Sam is an avid reader of Harry Potter. And nothing else.

He’s reading them through for the third time this summer.

I cheer that, I really do. But eventually, you have to read something else. Right? Right?

We’ve lined up all the likely candidates from this generation” Warriors. Magyk. Percy Jackson. Nope, nope and nope. Put forth our own old favorites. The Hobbit? Not yet. Narnia? Some, but not all. Five Children and It? Too dense. (I think giving him our old copies of stuff is a mistake–the new ones have bigger print and might look more welcoming.)

And then came the summer reading assignment. Caddie Woodlawn–a book I loved so much our old dog was named from it. A book of greek myths. Short, no problem. Plus: a book you haven’t read before. Any book.

Last night I stacked up ten choices. All those above, plus a Swallows and Amazons! A Great Brain! Half Magic! Sam, I said, you’re so lucky you haven’t read any of these yet!

And then Lily added one more to the pile. The Witches, by Roald Dahl, beloved author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which we read aloud (and have seen both movies). Gift of a favorite babysitter. Sam took it reluctantly to the couch.

And….bingo! “This book pulls me in like Harry Potter pulls me in, mom!”

Please, please let more books do the same!

6 Responses to “The Witches!”

  1. Jess says:

    This rocks. Ben NEVER takes my suggestions when I give them. You’d think I’d know something about books for a 12 yo, being a middle school English teacher and all, but as far as he’s concerned my choices suck. Until some time passes and he “discovers” them himself. At which point they become awesome books. Until then, they suck and will, most certainly, be boring because mom recommended them.

  2. Nancy says:

    Words I never thought I would say? “Put down the book and enjoy the scenery!” Have one who won’t stop reading, have one who prefers never to have to read anything again. Ever. How she would pick a book from the pile you made? Whichever was the shortest. Doesn’t matter the subject, just how long it is.

  3. M says:

    I only comment on your book-related posts 🙂

    My son and I are both the same kind of reader – we’d rather re-read than start something new! 🙂 Some of the books I adore(d) just don’t cut it for my kids – I was similarly heartbroken when the “William” series was rejected for being “wierd”!

    But going by what you posted, how about:

    – Diana Wynn Jones – Chrestomanci series is a good place to start. (And I personally think her stories have more character development and depth than JKR :))
    – Geoffrey Trease – not the Bannermere series, but some of his standalones.
    – Brian Jacques – Redwall series.

  4. Cheryl M. says:

    Don’t worry, he’ll read other stuff. There must be something in the Harry Potter books that he’s identifying with. I learned to read at around 3yo (I could read a paragraph out of Reader’s Digest before I was 4), and I have always gone through phases where I just felt like I needed to read one of my old faves rather than pick up a new book. First it was the Little House on the Prairie series, then Nancy Drew. Then as I got older it was any V.C. Andrews, Stephen King, or Dean Koontz. Even at 39, there is just some strange comfort in reading a book whose characters you know really well. I’m just starting Cody McFadyen’s Smokey Barrett series for the 3rd time.

  5. KJ (aka Lola Granola) says:

    We will try them! And honestly, I like to reread books too. In fact, I’ve reread Harry Potter–more than once. And plenty of other stuff. But you DO need more than seven books in your life!

  6. Carla says:

    My oldest is an avid reader, but before about 4th grade he was only an avid reader of Star Wars and Science encyclopedias.

    Yes, science encyclopedias. Don’t ask…I didn’t, and now he’s moved on…THANK GOODNESS!

    anyway, some recent favorites of his that we’ve made him go back to reading age appropriate:

    Ranger’s Apprentice series- recommended by the lady at Barnes and Noble, he loved it…waiting on book 7 to be in paperback. 😉

    Kingdom Keeper’s Series – sort of fantasy kind of books set in Disney World. LOL He said that they were really easy to read, I think the grade level was below where he’s been reading lately.

    really EASY reading level – How to Train Your Dragon series – 7 books in the series. My younger son really really really liked these.

    Rick Riordin series of Percy Jackson…but you said he didn’t care for them.

    Artemis Fowl – also recommended, but we’ve not read them – recommended by the Barnes and Noble worker. Might have to try that next to keep my voracious book worm in books – he’s killing my budget! LOL But I’m seriously not complaining because it’s no longer science encyclopedias or more trivial knowledge books about Star Wars (yes the non-fiction, trivia knowledge kinds is what he devoured).