When I was growing up there were no such things as “tween books.”
Once you were able to read at an adult level you grabbed your mother’s books. For most people this usually amounted to romance novels, or in my case, "Jaws" and "Towering Inferno." No wonder I’m so off-kilter. To be clear, by reading at an adult level I just mean the mechanics of reading - you can sound out the words - but not the comprehension. It would be years before I could jump into the deep end of a swimming pool without thinking about sharks after reading Peter Benchley’s bestseller at the tender age of ten.
These days kids have lots of choices of books for every age group. The question is when do you let them graduate from Ramona Quimby and Diary of a Wimpy Kid to something heavier.
For my daughter, it was this past summer. For the record, she has read more than 2,000 pages in the past two months. I don’t think I’ve read 2,000 pages in the past ten years. Of course, I usually fall asleep reading at night after about three pages, but still, I love to read.
My fifth grader’s new obsession is the recent cultural phenomenon of vampires. She is reading the Twilight series. Fantasy and horror are not my thing, but I must admit that these books have certainly grabbed the attention of readers nationwide.
Luckily my mother (of course) has already read the books, so she convinced me that my daughter was ready to handle the material. Of course, this is the same woman who let me read "Jaws." But I gave in with the caveat that we would talk about any difficult material that she came across. I wanted my daughter to discuss it with me every night and ask questions.
So far, so good. She has turned into a voracious and curious reader. My fear is that the books will run out. We went to the bookstore the other night and looked at some other vampire books meant for pre-teens. Nothing caught her eye. Please Stephenie Meyer, hurry, write more…I’m enjoying the silence in the house without the drone of the television in the background.
Amanda is the mom of two girls, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including one on motherhood called "Smotherhood." Find her here on Mondays.