I’ve heard several customers describe Cover to Cover as a magical place. They appreciate the wonderful colors and artwork and décor. But to me, Cover to Cover is magical because of the excitement and wonder our books can provide to young readers.
My co-workers will tell you that I love to chat with the kids. A few days ago, I was talking with a young boy, probably about 6 or 7, who visits the store often. He asked me if like the beach.
“Of course,”, I replied.
“Well,” he continued, do you know that every time you put your feet in the sand, you are putting them into fish poop?”
I paused, “Um, I did not realize that, but I will never sink my toes into the sand the same way again.”
He smirked at me with a satisfied grin. “Do you know where I learned that?”
“A book, I’m hoping” I replied.
“Yes!” he said. “I read about it in True or Poo” and he pointed to the shelf where I remember seeing that very book.
“I just might leave my shoes on the next time I visit the beach” I joked, which was all the motivation he needed to rattle off several more facts about poo that every person should know.
Interactions like this are exactly why I love working at the bookstore!
One of our missions at Cover to Cover is to build lifelong readers. We love the quote from JK Rowling which says that “If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”
Now, some kids just inherently love to read. They are the easy customers.
Many kids, however, are what we call reluctant readers. They think reading is boring, or they would rather be doing something else.
It’s tough to get a kid to put down their phone, or their video games or social media to open a book. However, providing the books that interest the child makes it a lot easier!
If kids are forced to read enough books that do not interest them, they are likely to give up. I do not like to read they may say. The truth is more likely that they don’t like to read what they are expected to read.
I hear some parents worry about kids reading books that are below their reading level or have too many pictures. Some parents don’t like books about poop or underpants. But let’s face it, kids, and especially boys, think that is funny stuff! They cannot resist!
I remember reading many of the “Captain Underpants” books with my son when he was younger. I learned all about Professor Pippy Poopypants and Dr. Diaper, . Was it classic literature? Of course not, but it kept his attention and kept us reading together!
In fact, at one point we had a small aquarium of fish all named after the characters from the series!
Some adults don’t like the idea of graphic novels, which are often compared to comic books. But don’t let all the pictures fool you. Many of the books have elaborate plots and well-developed characters. In fact, the graphic novel “New Kid” won the 2019 Newberry Awards for literature.
I’ll admit, graphic novels are not my thing. I’d much rather read a traditional book, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important. If they get your kid to read, and to enjoy books, then they are working.
So, the next time your kids or grandkids want to read a book about crude jokes and poop, or full of pictures, try to remember that they are kids. Their tastes and interests will evolve, and they will graduate to more sophisticated reading.
But in the meantime, they are developing a love of reading and books that will hopefully last a lifetime.
And the next time you step onto the beach for a relaxing stroll along the water, try not to remember the fish poo story that my young friend shared with me!
Stop by Cover to Cover soon and let us show you some great pics for the reluctant reader in your life!
- Andra Gillum - Bookseller, Author, Mom