About a month or so ago Eden came to me with a problem.
“Mom, I need your help.” Catching a whiff of tension, I set down whatever I was doing and looked up, all hands on deck.
“It’s Daddy,” This was a surprise since I couldn’t think of why she would be this tentative with Paul, “You know how we’re reading The Fellowship of the Rings? I want to stop but I don’t want to hurt Daddy’s feelings. Would you talk to him for me?”
My kid wanted me to break up with her dad and his book on her behalf. This was a new one.
“Why do you want to quit reading the book? I thought you liked it. You loved The Hobbit.”
To be honest, I had found this surprising. The only reason I read The Hobbit was because of her father’s love for it and my love for him. It took me another 20 years to read the The Lord of the Rings and I only did that when I knew the movies were being made. I far preferred the trilogy to The Hobbit and assumed if Eden liked the latter, she would definitely enjoy the former.
“I did love The Hobbit but The Fellowship goes on and on. They keep getting into trouble after trouble after trouble; it just gets to be too much.”
Eden and I are in a sweet spot with reading. She is a strong girl and can be resistant to things I suggest. Last summer I recommended she try, Caddie Woodlawn, an all time favorite of mine and my mother’s before me. Eden turned up her nose and I let it go until Christmas when I decided—that’s it—we’re reading it together. By Chapter Two she was hooked and we read it several nights over the holiday. It was wonderful.
Paul did the same thing with The Fellowship of the Ring: he just kept reading it and very soon they got to a better part and Eden was engaged in the story again and they moved onto Two Towers without skipping a beat. Paul and I have jokingly fought over who gets to read to Eden and I think she loves all of it.
It’s my turn now and we’re reading The Great Brain, another favorite from my childhood.
What books did you love as a kid? What are some you’ve enjoyed reading with your own children?
Big Daddy says
I know, I know – you can lead a horse to water (or in this case, a filly), but you can’t make her drink. I guess I’ll just have to find a way to slip some salt into the filly’s oats…
Alison Hodgson says
The point of this whole post is that we’re doing a fine job.
And aren’t Eden and I so glad you have never allowed us to break up with you…or your books.
I’ve loved reading to my kids over the years. I still read at night to my youngest son – he just turned 13 and I’ll keep doing it til he kicks me out! Some of my favorites when I was a kid: My Side of the Mountain, The Boxcar Children, Treasures of the Snow. There are so many good books out there! Hope my kids continue to love reading as they grow up!
This was a sweet post, Alison – thanks! ~Robyn
Alison Hodgson says
That’s great that you’re still reading to your son, Robyn. It’s a special ritual with so many benefits for both parties.
I was a voracious reader (got kicked out of school in 2nd grade for reading Nancy Drew under the desk and ignoring the teacher) and still am. We read to all our kids when they were little and now they are all equally into reading. But we hit a speed bump along the way when my middle child, at around 10 years old, stopped reading. He wouldn’t be read to, didn’t like the Harry Potter books his brother and sister worshiped and didn’t like any of the typical pre-teen fare referred to us. Finally I found the Alex Rider series by Horowitz and he LOVED it. I couldn’t get him the books fast enough and I read them while he read them. He would read before going to bed then give the book to me and I read after that until I went to bed. We went on night by night with us constantly checking up on each other to see “where they were” in the book to talk about it. Since then the whole family has read the series and while he has moved on to other more mature books I still have a soft spot for those.
Pam B says
I was given a set of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Trilogy for my 13th birthday by a boy that I really liked. But I had no idea what they were about, so I put them on my shelf and NEVER read them until I was in my 30s and the man I loved told me that they were some of his favorite books. So of course I had to read them then! They still are not my favorite books, but I agree they are wonderful.
Fast forward to after this man that I loved and I were married and our children were in elementary school. In the summertime when there wasn’t homework to be done and the kids needed something to help them unwind before bedtime we started reading The Hobbit to them. My husband occasionally smokes a pipe. When we got to the part about Gandalf blowing magical smoke rings my husband, who had his pipe going, began to blow smoke rings for the kids. They were enthralled and amazed that Dad could blow magical smoke rings like Gandalf! All three of our children still talk about those nights of reading Tolkien together.
Fast forward again to today when our middle child/daughter is in graduate school in London, England working toward her PhD in Creative Writing and putting the finishing touches on her first novel which was inspired by Tolkien’s Middle Earth world. The dedication of the book is inscribed to her Dad, thanking him for introducing her to such wonderful writing.
So keep reading to your kids. It is well worth the time and effort!