Graphic Novels and Girl Drama

As my kids get older, I’ve noticed something interesting about their reading choices. The books they select, both at home and at school, reflect their personalities and their social and developmental phases.

My 7-year old son loves sports and graphic novels. He plays sports anytime, anywhere. His choice of books are often those about a major sports figure like Jackie Robinson or Michael Jordan. I’m thrilled that an extracurricular activity like sports can spark an interest in reading.

My son’s fascination with graphic novels surprised me. My husband loves them because they’re part comic book, part novel, but I can barely get through the first few pages of this genre. I think my son saw my husband reading one that piqued his interest. Soon after, he came home from the school library with a graphic novel.

Right now, my son is reading, Stinky a surprisingly adorable and funny graphic novel about a monster who loves pickles and possums, but is terrified of people. Last night he fell asleep trying to finish the book. Diary of A Wimpy Kid is another of my son’s favorite series. These well-illustrated books capture my son’s imagination and hold it. Interestingly, my daughter never liked these books.

As a fourth-grader, my 10-year old daughter is dealing with the daily drama of shifting friendships, mean girls and how to forgive and forget.

Right now, she’s reading Rules For Secret Keeping and The Popularity Papers. Theses titles mirror what she’s going through socially and emotionally.

Some parents worry that their children aren’t reading early enough. At my daughter’s preschool in Los Angeles, many of the parents were obsessed with which kids were reading chapter books (and, of course, whether their own kids were reading them and if not, why not). Chapter books in preschool? My daughter entered kindergarten reading fluently, but she wasn’t reading chapter books–at least not what I consider to be a chapter book. My son learned to read in kindergarten, not before. I didn’t panic, but encouraged both of them by making sure they knew books were fun, playful and something to engage and entertain them for the rest of their lives.

The most important thing to remember is that reading is for life. Chapter books will be there, waiting for your child to read them, whenever that may be. What really matters is for parents to help their children develop an enduring love of reading. For me, it was a magical moment when each of my kids realized they were truly reading and understanding the words on the page.
When my kids were toddlers and I read aloud to them, there were some books I could barely stand to hear myself read to them. I got rid of those mind-numbing books very quickly!

Luckily, we found two series the kids loved and I found so charming and witty, we read them for many years. These were our “read it again, mommy…again!” books:
Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late by Mo Willems
If You Take A Mouse To The Movies by Laura Numeroff

Do your kids have a “read it again, mommy” book?

Christina Simon author Beyond the Brochure Christina Simon is the co-author of “Beyond The Brochure: An Insider’s Guide To Private Elementary Schools In Los   Angeles.” She also writes the blog, about applying to private elementary schools in Los Angeles and the ups and downs as life as a private school mom.  Christina’s blog was just voted “Top 25 Parent Resources” by Circle Of Moms. She has written recent guest blog pieces for Mamapedia, BlogHer Syndication, The Mother Company, The Well Mom, Sane Moms, Eco Mom, Macaroni Kids, A Child Grows In Brooklyn, Power Of Moms, The Twin Coach, Diaries Of A Mixed (Up) Kid and The Culture Mom. Christina is a former vice president at Fleishman-Hillard, a global public relations firm. She has a 7-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter. Christina lives in Los Angeles with her husband and kids. She has a B.A. from UC Berkeley and an M.A. from UCLA.