In my Literature for Youth course, I was asked to consider my own reading habits and preferences as a child and use this information to make book recommendations to my self.
In my adult life, I am an avid reader, but as a child, I rarely read independently. I loved reading with my grandmother, and I have many memories of reading together from the time I was very young and into my elementary years. She loved The Velveteen Rabbit and Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones, and I loved having her undivided attention. These experiences were, for me, much more about spending time together than they were about reading, and I have no memories of reading independently as a child. I did not begin reading independently for enjoyment until seventh or eighth grades.
It’s easier for me to consider this assignment from my perspective as a parent. Most recently, my son and I have enjoyed reading together over the summer. He has especially loved The Lemonade War, Restart, and all of the Origami Yoda books. Based on his interest in and enjoyment of these texts, and the feedback he shared with me about his preferences, I would recommend the following read-alikes.
- No Talking, Andrew Clements – My son shared that he enjoyed The Lemonade War because “the boy and girl were fighting, and the boy was winning!” This is not entirely true, but from this I gathered that the boy / girl rivalry was engaging. Because of this I think he might also enjoy No Talking. Both books have an element of competition, which is exciting and adds a relatable tension. Both books focus on characters that are just a bit older that he is and are imperfect and, thus, relatable.
- Slacker, Gordon Korman – When I asked my son about Restart, he said that the bad kids were “kind of funny” even though he knew that their behavior was bad. He said he liked that the main character was “good and bad.” He loved the idea of a video club, and has been asking me to join one nearly every day. Slacker is a book by the same author as Restart, and it also includes some naughty characters and a school club.
- Spaceheadz, Jon Scieszka – I asked what he like about the Origami Yoda books, and my son said, “There are so many of them, and they are so funny!” Because of this feedback, I chose Spacehadz. Scieska is known for his humorous writing style. The book features aliens, which are similar to the origami Star Wars characters in the Angleberger series. Additionally, Spaceheadz is the first in a series.
I think that as an adult, my own profile would certainly reflect a broader scope of reading experiences than my son’s, but I wonder if it would be difficult to or surprising to articulate what it is that draws me to certain books. My son certainly struggled with this. His first answer what almost always, “I don’t know. I just like it.” It might be interesting to see what parallels there are in my preferences between seemingly different texts or genres. Considering these questions for my son and for myself will certainly help me to better know how to develop profile’s of my patron’s – equipping me to make stronger recommendations.