Within the first week of school, my son’s sixth grade English teacher noticed his strong reading skills, and he asked Ryan what types of books he likes to read.
“It was hard for me to answer at first,” Ryan told me that afternoon after I picked him up from school and he filled me in on his day.
Of course it was hard to answer.
My son may be a bit of a picky eater (he refuses to try macaroni and cheese, yet he loves a daily serving or two of cucumbers and carrots).
But he certainly isn’t a picky reader.
Currently, we are reading Martin Luther King: The Peaceful Warrior – a biography about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Most of our reading happens at bedtime as part of our nightly routine. It’s a serious book filled with facts that are not easy to read and discuss. But they are important and necessary not just because they are a part of our nation’s history, but our family’s history as well. (We are a mixed race family, and Ryan was understandably astounded to learn that not-too-long-ago my husband and I would not have legally been permitted to marry.)
Before this nonfiction book, Ryan had read the latest installment of a popular graphic novel series – Dog Man #7: For Whom the Ball Rolls. That book isn’t serious. It’s silly and off-the-wall and entertaining (for him). I enjoy the clever titles referencing literature classics (Lord of the Fleas, A Tale of Two Kitties, Brawl of the Wild).
Later that afternoon, I got the rest of the story.
“I told Mr. V. I like to read books about space,” Ryan told me. (Reaching For the Moon).
“Yes you do,” I said.
And basketball (Dream Big: Michael Jordan and the Pursuit of Excellence).
And famous people (Who Was Rachel Carson?).
And dogs (Because of Winn-Dixie).
And girls with magical powers (Matilda).
And kids in middle school (Diary of a Wimpy Kid). I silently added all these to the list.
So I will happily take this trade-off.
I’ll deal with a somewhat limited rotation of dinner menus in exchange for my son’s plentiful book appetite.