Friday 18 October 2019

The children don't want my old books

As a child I was a voracious reader. I read many, many books, and each week at the library I would bring home many more. I had my favourites of course, which I would read over and over again. Many of my childhood books left a lasting impression on me, and I still remember situations and quotes from books which had a particular resonance.

So when I had children of my own I was naturally keen to foster a love of reading by sharing my favourite books. I kept whole shelves of my favourite books, and if I spotted others that I remembered in book shops or charity shops I would pick them up and put them to one side. Recently I've even been buying up some of my childhood favourites in the hope that I can entice the children to sit down with them.

Unfortunately I've discovered that they just aren't that interested. Harry did read a few of my Enid Blyton's when he was younger, but they never gripped him in the way that they did me. Instead, he has selected Rick Riordan as his author of choice, and will quite happy read through the Percy Jackson books with the same intense devotion that I had for Mallory Towers.

I've found a slight ally in Mia. Although she isn't very interested in reading the books herself, she's quite happy for me to read them to her. Very possibly she is just humouring me, and making the most of my undivided attention, but I'm going to milk it for as long as I can. We've just finished Charlotte Sometimes and are now working through Tom's Midnight Garden - both books which I loved and I hope that she enjoys too. Otherwise, most of my old books have been banished to a separate bookshelf upstairs.

Bookshelf of old books

The only books of mine that Harry has shown an interest in are the books aimed at children which I bought and enjoyed as an adult. For example the Harry Potter series and the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. I am a bit surprised. I know that I read lots of books that belonged to my parents, and was always interested in books that I found around the house. Maybe they just have so much exposure to books of their own and at school that they aren't stuck for things to read.

Did you keep your old books for your children? And do they read them?

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