Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Buy your kids books -- any kind of books.

There's a LaVar Burton quote meme floating around: "If your kid likes superheroes, then dammit buy your kids comic books."

If I may be allowed to expand on that.  Buy your kid any kind of book they want.  Buy them more than one book.  Hell, let them go hog wild.

I can't tell you the number of times a kid in my store has come up to the parent wanting a book and the parent told them to put it back.  It is often hard for me not to just say to the kid -- "Hey, you want that book, I'll give it to you."  I don't do it not because of the cost to me, but because I'd be interfering with the parent.

But here would be my first rule.  Buy the kid the book.

I would love to take the parent aside and say, "Okay, it's great that you have a weekend with your kids and that you've come into a bookstore.  But if I may ask, how often does that happen?"

I know what a lot of you will say, and it's exactly what the parent I ask will say:  "Oh, all the time."

But really, more than a few times a year?  (If you are really the exception, congrats.)

Now's your chance to "reward" the kid with a book.  To make books special.


the kid,

and the books

are altogether in one place --

Make the most of it!

Don't make it something about affordability (often, you have bags of candy in your hands, so that ain't the real problem), not about whether the kid has been good or bad or because you "just bought a toy" or -- worst of all -- "you already have a book."

Buy the kid the book.  Put your own stuff back and buy the kid a book if you are tight on money.  Let that kid stack the books high, and he or she will be the richest kid around.

Not only that, but buy the book the kid wants.  Don't meddle.  Let the kid explore, experiment, read the wrong books, books that are too adult, books that are too kiddy.  (I of course don't count the extremes -- you don't want to hand your 12 year old Fifty Shades of Gray, obviously)

Buy the kid a comic, a cartoon book, a reference book about dinosaurs, or the silliest sounding book you've ever heard of.

I've come to really dislike the YA label.  What the hell?  You're telling the kids and parents what is appropriate to read?  Let the kid decide that, thank you.  I very distinctly remember a period in my life when I alternated between the Children's Library and the Adult Library.  I wasn't shoe-horned into one or the other.  The YA age is exactly the age where the kid should be trying new things --not relegated to some YA ghetto.

I was a free range kid.  I read anything and everything.  Sometimes I tackled a book I didn't completely understand -- that was Okay.  Sometimes I'd read a book below my supposed reading level because the subject interested me.  No rules.

Just reading.

Just books.

Books as something special.

Books as an everyday part of my life.

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