Books

Wings of Fire, Book 2: The Lost Heir by Tui T. Sutherland

Last night I couldn’t sleep, so I picked up the second Wings of Fire series book. The Lost Heir at around 10:00 and I started reading.  I thought, “I will just read a couple of chapters so that I will want to sleep,” and started reading.  BIG MISTAKE!

I really got into the book and I read it until I finished it at stupid o’clock this morning.  The journey of the five dragonets continues as they go to find the sea dragons’ kingdom and Tsunami’s mom.  The point of view character shifts in this book, and we are now focused on Tsunami more than the other characters.  In fact, the other dragonets do not show up as much in this book.

I enjoyed the continuing saga of the dragonets and their quest to fulfill the prophecy and find/meet their parents.  The book added some twists and turns to the story, and Sutherland left the reader to wonder what all of this means for the dragonets and the prophecy.  I will have to find a chance to pick up the third book in the series to read in the next week or so.

As I continue my journey reading mostly children’s books this year, I find myself continuing to wonder why more adults don’t read children’s, mid-grade, and young adult books in addition to adult books.  Are we making a mistake by classing books by the ages of who should be reading them? I think this might be the case.  The Harry Potter books were one exception where adults were reading them in addition to kids, and there have been many other similar exceptions.  But why is that an exception?  Why isn’t it a normal thing for adults to read a few children’s/young reader/mid-grade/young adult books?

There is another similar problem that I have observed over the years of being a parent: when kids start to read books that we consider “too advanced” or mature for them, we stop them and tell them that’s above their reading level.  Why do we do this?  When my eldest was in 6th grade, she had an assignment for school to read a biography or memoir.  I let her pick whatever she wanted to pick, and she chose a book from my shelves – A Writer’s Diary by Virginia Woolf.

I thought that the teacher’s objection would be because it was not a true diary or memoir.  It is a selection of diary entries (not the full unedited diaries) that relate to her writing and reading.  This was not the teacher’s objection.  The teacher told my kid that the reason she couldn’t use that book was because of the way Viriginia Woolf’s life ended.  She didn’t want them to read a book about a life that ended in suicide.

Now, if that teacher was educated on the topic, she would have known that this is not mentioned in her diary.  Woolf does not sit there musing over her imminent death.  So why tell a kid who is interested in an author that has written about her writing process that they can’t read the book.

Over the years, I have had multiple encounters with teachers telling my kids that they need to read grade-level appropriate books.  They don’t expect them to challenge themselves.  I think this is unfortunate and needs to stop.  If a kid feels that they are ready for a book and want to try reading it, let them.  What is the worst that can happen?  The kid doesn’t finish the book?  They don’t fully understand the book?  That’s okay.  At least they are challenging their minds and growing as human beings.

This brings me back to the Wings of Fire book.  I’ve had the opposite problem with my youngest.  I have had a few teachers say that some of the books he selects are below grade level and too easy for him or too childish for him.  So what?  If he enjoys them, let him read them.  It is hard enough to get kids to read today, let alone enjoy what they are reading.  Stop putting restrictions on what they are and are not allowed to read.  Just let them read what they enjoy reading at a time in life when we can cultivate a love for reading.

Whatever books people find that they enjoy, let them enjoy them.  This will help people find a love for reading and a love for books.  My two-cents for the day.  Now, I am off to pick my next book.  Happy Reading!

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