There is nothing that bugs me more as an ‘author mum’ than boys saying, as they get older, that they don’t like reading because ‘it’s not cool,’ or ‘it’s for nerds’.
Boys, you are so wrong on every level!
My husband overheard my ten year old telling his best friend earlier that he hated reading.
What would his friend say if he I told him that every night at bedtime, we read three or four chapters of a book from his favourite series together, and every night he asks for just one more chapter when I try to leave?
Does enjoying a book mean that he will no longer be the great little football player he has become?
Does enjoying a book mean that he won’t be such a good duo partner on Fortnite anymore?
It is time to squash this image of being one thing or another. A cool kid, or a nerd. A sporty kid, or an academic kid. A book lover, or a book hater.
My son didn’t click with reading. He found it hard and didn’t particularly enjoy the books recommended by school. He never got the hype about Harry Potter, and if a book didn’t grab him in the first chapter then it quickly went in the ‘hand me down pile.’ He is a sporty kid, and is never happier than when he is kicking a football around.
But, I never gave up on him. I knew that there would be a book out there for him. A book that would capture his heart, and make him realise the amazing place a book can take you to. A place away from the electronic bubble our children cannot escape in this modern world. A place where their minds can relax from the hectic interaction on Xbox live or Playstation.
You don’t have to love reading to enjoy a good book. But when you do discover that ‘good book’ you will love spending time reading it. And once you find ‘that book’, you will realise that there are others out there too. Thousands and thousands of books are just waiting to be discovered.
For my son, it was the Jamie Johnson series by Dan Freedman that did it for him. A series about his number one love – football. But, not only did he enjoy the football aspects of the book, he was drawn into the emotional journey of the character too.
Books teach us so much without us even realising, as we absorb them into our sponge-like minds.
It is a common bugbear amongst authors today when celebrities write a book that becomes a best seller just because they are famous. However, there are celebrities out there who have done wonders for promoting reading amongst children. Alesha Dixon has inspired countless young girls with her recent Lightning Girl series. Frank Lampard grabbed the attention of many a reluctant reader with his Frankie’s Magic Football series. And we all know how loved the David Walliams books are. All of these celebrities are living proof that we are not defined by one role in life. We can have many strings to our bow.
As boys grow up they will be influenced by their friends. Even more so thanks to social media. So let’s change this attitude that you either like books or you don’t. Let’s change this attitude of older boys that reading is for nerds.
Would you tell Frank Lampard he is a nerd for enjoying books boys?
If you agree with me, leave a comment to inspire boys out there to pick up a book!
This article was written by Kerry Gibb, a children’s author and mum to four boys. Her, It’s A Kid’s Life, series aimed at children aged 7 – 11, has grabbed the hearts of many reluctant readers. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also join her Kids Books Chit Chat social media groups.