Anonymous asked: if you don't mind my asking, which book/series do you think is the most important one for children to read?
All the books and series.
You think I’m joking, but the most important thing isn’t that you read a specific series over another—for me, my childhood was Harry Potter and historical fiction and every series about unicorns I could get my hands on; for others it was the paperback Star Wars series, or Animorphs, or Golden Compass, or Percy Jackson, or Babysitters, or Narnia or Artemis Fowl, or Tortall, or or or—
I think kids should read everything. Bad books, good books, trash books, every genre, of many lengths. There’s no one series that’s guaranteed to hit every child where they live—kids have reading preferences too!—so have them read what they want. Let them tear through a hundred thousand different versions of “Teen girl discovers only she can save the world (and make out with Angsty Boy)!” or “historical boy must navigate the Revolutionary War/Old West/World War II/etc.” Encourage them to go to the library and check out whole stacks and only read three. Recommend things you loved as a kid. Recommend best sellers. Let them read those—or not. The important part is the reading.
The minute we treat reading like it’s eating vegetables or brushing your teeth, like it’s something that has to be done for vaguely moralistic reasons, you have ruined reading. That’s why so many adults have a stack of “Classic Literature” that they never get to, because reading isn’t about making your way down some list of What You Ought To Put In Your Eyeballs To Be A Person Who Reads. Only reading makes you a person who reads, and only reading what you enjoy makes you someone who loves reading.
So I think it’s important for children to read all the books, and especially ones that speak to them. Reading is about tearing through paperbacks at lunch and hiding under your covers with a flashlight (though I suppose kids these days could use their smartphone) on a school night, and reading whatever tickles your fancy, no matter how inane, no matter how wish-fulfillment, no matter how seemingly banal. It’s not the book that matters, it’s the reader.
Or, you know. Something equally cliche~
I have fond memories of walking out of the library with a stack of books almost too heavy to hold and devouring them over lazy summer afternoons or long car trips or furtively after I was supposed to be sleeping.