"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.

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