Friday, January 4, 2008

From the NY Times yesterday

Stinky Cheese! Ambassador for Children’s Literature

Jon Scieszka, the author of witty and subversive children’s favorites like “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs” and “The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales,” is to be named the country’s first national ambassador for young people’s literature on Thursday, a kind of children’s book version of the Library of Congress’s poet laureate program.

Jon Sciezka is one of Noach's favorites. He read Guys Write for Guys Read a few months ago and was really taken with reading stories about some of his favorite authors. It led immediately to his reading the Bunnicula books by James Howe. And that has led to his reading a bit more difficult material..

Mr. Sciezska said that above all he hoped to encourage parents and teachers to support whatever reading their kids want to do. “People say, ‘All my son will read is “Captain Underpants,”’ or ‘My son is crazy about shark books, is that O.K.?’” he said. “I want to be the person to say, ‘Yeah, that’s really O.K., as long as he’s motivated to want to read.’”

I struggled with this when my now 15yo daughter was first reading. We had not yet started homeschooling and she would bring Junie B. Jones home from school. Then she would speak like Junie B. Jones, incorrect grammar and all. I didn't like it and my husband, a bit of a grammar fanatic, was horrified. I put those books away. Shoshie, unlike her younger brother, very early became an enthusiastic reader so that what she read was never a serious concern again. Before I knew it, she was reading Harry Potter and Redwall and more and more.

Noach has been slower to take off with reading. So I let him read Captain Underpants and anything else that he would look at. This is contrary to my twaddle-free, Charlotte Mason preference but I have never denied him a book that he was interested in. I keep hoping he will really take off reading but it hasn't really happened yet. I keep hoping. PRM

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