"at your library" in the north island eagle: life lessons are found in all kinds of stories

At Your Library: What Should Your Child Read?

"All my son wants to read are comics!"

"I don't approve of those zombie or vampire books. Kids should read something more uplifting and educational."

"Do comic books count as reading?"

"My daughter reads those 'world record' books. I want her to read nice stories."

At the library, we hear these questions all the time from parents and caregivers asking about their children's reading habits.

Maybe you are a parent or grandparent who finds choosing reading material for your child difficult, confusing, or overwhelming.

We're here to help.

If the question is "What should my child read?", the short answer is: what they like. If your child enjoys what they're reading, they will read more – and reading more is what we want. It almost doesn't matter what they read, as long as they enjoy it.

Of course, we want books to be appropriate for a child's age. There's a right time and a wrong time for children to learn about certain ideas.

But other than that, kids and teens should read what they like. Comics, magazines, fact books – they all "count". If your child finds a book or magazine interesting and absorbing – if they enjoy reading it – then it's good to read.

Comics are a great way to improve reading skills. Reading comics also helps develop something called "visual literacy" – the ability to find information through images. Our world is increasingly visual, so reading comics helps your child learn about the world.

Graphic novels, which are books written in comics form, can be about any subject, including important and serious topics. They are written and illustrated by top writers and artists. They're considered an important form of writing. If your child enjoys reading comics and graphic novels, we can help you find many wonderful choices.

Nonfiction is a great way to improve reading skills and to learn about the world. And you know what? So is fiction. Some people love to read facts and information. Some people love to read stories with interesting characters. And some people (like me) enjoy both. Neither is "better" than the other.

Wizards, dragons, zombies, and vampires are just a few of the fantasy characters your children may meet in books. Life lessons are found in all kinds of stories, including adventure, fantasy, and science fiction. Stories about courage, compassion, inner strength, empathy – all the things we want our children to have – are valuable, whether the characters are from this world or a make-believe world.

If your child doesn't like to read, chances are they haven't found the right book – yet. At the library, we love helping children find books they enjoy, so they can reap the benefits of being a lifelong reader. Come on in and find out.


James Redekop said...


johngoldfine said...

Yep, what they like pretty much covers it. My son-in-law, who is not himself any kind of reader, is convinced that his seven year-old needs 'educational' books that are 'good for him.' It's pointless to argue with him about this or anything else.

The other grandson, also seven, reads whatever he's interested in, and his days of toiling through what the schools call 'reading' are done, except for the inevitably dreary comprehension and vocabulary tests. Otherwise, he just reads like any reader would.

impudent strumpet said...

This has me thinking about all the random things I learned from Archie comics.

Some of it was facts (they were always learning "The Normans invaded England in 1066" in school), but also stuff about life. The fact that teenagers might have trappings of adulthood like jobs and cars (and breasts). The fact that fashion evolved over time. Boys and girls can go on dates, and boys and girls can also be friends without going on dates, and sometimes they can transition from one to another. (Archie didn't have any queer characters when I was young, but they do now.)

All fairly basic things that I probably would have picked up at some point, but the fact of the matter is I didn't know them, and then I learned them from comic books.