What’s The Eight-Year-Old reading this week?

Harry Potter Montage
Our mostly-weekly survey of the tidbits that cross The Eight-Year-Old’s desk. This week, The Eight-Year-Old discovers Harry Potter and Mommyo’s laissez faire attitude towards books is sorely tested. 

A sampling of this week’s books:

As parents, our attitude toward reading has always been a rather loose one: The more books you read, the less power any one book has over you. So we have typically let The Eight-Year-Old read pretty much whatever she wanted (with obvious exceptions — no adult fiction, unless it’s been prescreened).

This typically works well for us because The Eight-Year-Old naturally gravitates towards kids’ books and non-fiction magazines about animals, science, and antiques. We had a few attitude bobbles while she was reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and every once in a while I question my choice to allow her to read National Geographic, but overall, The Eight-Year-Old is pretty good at self-censoring her reading choices.

Inevitably, Harry Potter flew into The Eight-Year-Old’s life this week. The first two books were no problem. Aside from a scene crawling with giant spiders, there was very little in them that I thought she’d have trouble with.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a different story. The Eight-Year-Old is not ready to deal with maniacal mass-murderers or Dementors. At best, they’d give her nightmares. Knowing my daughter, reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban too soon would turn her off one of the best children’s series I’ve ever read.

After reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in two breathless gulps, The Eight-Year-Old couldn’t wait to start Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. And if she wanted to read it, our book parenting philosophy demanded that we let her. But knowing she wasn’t ready for it (and knowing that the remaining books become ever-more challenging as the series go on), could we in good conscience let her?

Daddyo and I talked through various options: making her wait a year in between books, making her watch the movies as she reads each book (The Eight-Year-Old hates live-action movies, so this would be an effective stalling tactic), or doing nothing and letting her read the books at her own pace, like we would with any other children’s series.

In the end, we decided to tell her about our concerns, but let her make her own decision about whether or not to read each book in the Harry Potter series.

Yesterday, when I noticed The Eight-Year-Old rereading The Chamber of Secrets, I asked her how The Prisoner of Azkaban went.

The Eight-Year-Old: “Oh, I’m only on page thirty-six. I decided I didn’t want to read it yet.”

So it’s back on our shelf of purple books, ready to be enjoyed when The Eight-Year-Old is ready for it.


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About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, chatting about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.blog, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
This entry was posted in Reading, Reviews: Books, What the 8YO is reading and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to What’s The Eight-Year-Old reading this week?

  1. Pingback: What’s The Eight-Year-Old reading this week? | CATERPICKLES

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