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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Oh, boy! Encouraging reluctant readers, part II

By Charity Tahmaseb

If you’ve had a passing acquaintance with the male of the species, chances are you’ve encountered the: that’s chick lit or that's a chick flick argument of why He Man won’t read/see that book/movie.

We’ve run into this with my son, with a slightly different take. Recently, a girl who sits next to him at school was reading a book from the Dear Dumb Diary series--the one about haunted pants (truly, I have no idea, otherwise, I’d elaborate)--and shared parts of it with him. She’s also the girl who pokes and flicks him at regular intervals. This, my son tells me, is how you know ten-year-old girls like you.

In any case, my son read the entire series, devoured each book. He has read enough that he qualifies for the end of the school year trip to the local amusement park.

Except, he won’t do the write ups on the diary books and turn them in. These are “girl” books. To do so would seriously damage his ten-year-old-boy street cred.

This week’s crisis involved the award winning book he had to choose for the regular monthly book project. He picked Because of Winn-Dixie--and got flak for it. It’s a “girl” book, with a girl protagonist.

To his credit, he stuck with it. He read it fast, not out of fear of being caught, but because he couldn’t stop. He’d walk to and from the car with his head down, eyes on the page.

What more can a writing mom ask for?

Except maybe a good conversation about books and perception and how there really isn’t such a thing as a girl book or a boy book. There are just books.

Now if I could only get him to do those write ups.


At 2:02 PM, Blogger bridget said...

Charity, this is wonderful. I love his elemental appreciation of 'story'. How do we get those ideas about gender-tagging books, anyway? I mean, did the main protagonist of 'Harry Potter' stop girls from reading it? Obviously not!

At 4:40 PM, Blogger Kiki, aka Esri said...

Good for your boy. If he reads enough of those books, maybe he'll get over the last hurdle.


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