Do you think it is more negative than positive if your kid insists on reading books by a particular author to the exclusion of all other books? What is the solution to this? Or do you think that this doesn't matter as long as your child is having a good time reading?
Being hooked on one author is like having a crush. In most cases, it will pass with time. It's better not to try to control your child's reading. If they get to read what they like, they will like reading. If they have to read what you like, or avoid showing a preference to any author, then reading doesn't belong to them anymore, and it will just be a chore.
I like that analogy, Aya - it's such an apt description. My girlhood crushes were Roald Dahl books, and later Judy Blume books.
My son was hooked on the series Bone, by author Jeff Smith. He still continues to read/look at the illustrations inbetween his High School mandatory readings in Honors English-East of Eden, Scarlet Letter. Although he did like Scarlet Letter, East of Eden he skimmed through it-said it was so much like Cain and Able that he didn't want to read the whole thing. Bone series was an escape, and for his artist heart was another form of storytelling without so many words.
He started reading these books freshman year, we had a very difficult time at first in trying to get him to read other things (his books for English), until we figured out we could use the series as a reward. He looked forward to every new book we got him, and meanwhile he was able to excel in his English classes.
I can get that way even now; it's not just kid issue. After they burn through the author's books, they will probably be hooked to the genre and will look for more by someone else. It's a good addiction.
My son got hooked on the Percy Jackson series and then wanted to read everything else written by Rick Riordan. It fortunately got him into the 39 Clues series, which opened him up to lots of other authors, but he was very resistant to any other books while he was reading Percy Jackson. I let it go until he was done with both series, but then he had a hard time finding books to read because he was done with both. He was resistant to trying anything else because he just wanted more of the same, but there weren't any more to be had.
So, I'd say that this can be both a good and bad thing. My solution has been to read books with him, and that's opened up a whole slew of authors because he likes the companionship of reading with another person. Once he tries a new book, he almost always likes it and then he burns through the books by that author. :)
Tabitha, my dad and I used to read things like Edgar Allen Poe, other classics, and also Roald Dahl's adult stories when I was around 13. Those are good memories!
I think any time a kid is reading, that has got to be seen as a good thing. There were any number of times in my life that I got caught up in the works of one author. After I read through all that author's books, I would seek out other authors like my favorites, and that eventually led me to branch out to other subjects. Everyone has their favorite genres. I think the important thing is that parents need to be aware of, and whenever possible, a _reader_ of those same books. And I also think that all parents must ask their children about any media getting into the kid's head. It promotes bonding, shows interest, and it can lead to some fascinating discussions. Ask a child about his take on the bullying in Harry Potter. Ask a child if it was right that awful things happened to kids in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Nowhere has the old addage about "never knowing unless you ask" been more crucial than in parenthood. Asking gives you insight into why your child makes the decisions he or she does.
Kim, Because you mention Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, my head returned me to when I read it as a young kid. I just don't recall feeling any violence or menace around it. I was pro Charley and craved chocolate more than usual for a while.
The question is not did you feel violence or menace. Did you feel glee at the apparent demise of children you despised?
Great question. I recall having no compassion for them and being startled by the methods used to dispatch them. We had little FX in those days to draw upon. I don't recall feeling glee and don't remember if they were killed; I thought they were simply pushed out of the way and profoundly humiliated.
I think reading is among the first impacting, powerful, and individual choices a child makes, so I can see this being a conflict of interest for a parent: on the one hand, you want to reward the avid reader and not intrude on their decision-making, on the other, you want to open up a wealth of choices, to help them choose to challenge themselves and be rewarded by their decisions with something new, refreshing, and imaginative.
I'd first analyze what it is about the books/authors that appeals to your child. Then I think it helps taking your kid to a book seller and letting the book seller do his job. When I worked in the kid's section at Barnes and Nobles, I had plenty of parents and kids come up to me and ask for a recommendation, and I treated each young adult as if they were an adult, and pulled several titles for them to choose from. It's still an individual choice for the kid, and they get the added adult experience of interacting with a professional and making an informed decision based on a non-parental experience.
"I think it helps taking your kid to a book seller and letting the book seller do his job."
Well said. I do this with my son, and it's something he looks forward to each time. We do this at the library, too. He got his own library card when he was 5 or 6, and it's gotten lots of use. The bookstore is a very special occasion because he gets to keep the book, so he thinks long and hard before making his choice. :)