After Harry Potter — What’s Next?

Take Your Kids to the Library

It was a cold, rainy, dreary day as I joined about fifty of my neighbours trying to huddle under one small tent.

We couldn’t all fit so we raised our umbrellas and focused our attention on a small piece of ground under the canvas and watched while local dignitaries dug a spade full of earth from the ground. Despite the weather we were excited and pleased to be at this event. This was the start of our new library.

When I was a girl my library was a bookmobile. I remember standing and waiting for the bus and its load of new books, I could hardly wait! In the summer in my neighbourhood, we kids collected all our books and created a library in the garage. We all got to read each other’s books all summer long.

Look in your local newspaper at this time of year and you’ll see lists of beach books. Well, the joy of summer reading isn’t just for adults. It’s also a great time for kids to read: to read for fun, for relaxation and for adventure. It’s the time to demonstrate to our children that not all reading is for class work. It can be a leisure activity. And our public libraries are the best place to start. All library branches have summer programs for kids from preschoolers to teens. And no one knows what books to recommend better than a children’s librarian.

There are many reasons why you want to make trips to the library as much a part of the summer as trips to the park and beach. As I mentioned there are great summer reading programs for kids, and librarians can introduce your kids to all kinds of new books based on their interests and reading ability. And you can let your kids try out books at no cost.

Reading is important. We all want our kids to read and we all know that being readers will benefit them throughout their entire life. Problem is, we sometimes get too concerned and turn reading into an academic exercise instead of fun. There is nothing wrong with kids reading magazines or comic books. Reading leads to more reading.

Books need to be your kid’s friends. When your kids are babies make sure they have books they can love as only a toddler can. That means they can chew on it, crumple it and even scribble in it. Toddlers learn to love things by using all their senses and that includes books. I still have a book from my childhood (Winnie the Pooh, in case you’re wondering) with some crayon marks. When we treat all books like precious china our kids learn to be wary of them. Yes, they need to learn to care for their books and certainly library books need care, but let’s not overdo it.

Besides providing books for your children, read to them. Just because they can read themselves doesn’t mean they don’t like to listen. Reading to your children is such a wonderful experience. They cuddle up to you and you are sharing the story together. And afterwards you can talk about it. Choose a family favourite to read or introduce them to poetry. Take a story they would love but is just a bit too overwhelming to read alone and read a chapter a night. Imagine having your kids just chafing at the bit for bedtime and the next chapter to Goblet of Fire or Oliver Twist.

Helping your older kids find books is sometimes a real challenge. Again, look to your librarian they know what pre-teens and teens are reading. I don’t know all the books out there but want to recommend that you also support Canadian authors. Two come to mind. If your kids are interested in adventure you can’t do better than the adventure books by local author Pam Withers. In her books you meet kids who are skateboarding, heli-skiing, kayaking in whitewater rapids. And these extreme sports are simply the start to great adventures. So take a look at the Extreme Sports adventure series.

If your kids are missing Harry Potter there is a wonderful Canadian Author, Holly Bennett I can recommend.

Check out your local library. Introduce your kids to the wonder of reading. Discover the summer reading programs for kids. Soon books will be on your children’s wish list for birthday or holiday gifts.




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One Response to After Harry Potter — What’s Next?

  1. Denise Cox says:

    The timing of your this piece about reading was perfect for me. We just visited our local library last week and it was like a match to paper. We (especially my almost 5 year old twins) have been enjoying some really funny picture books (over and over) and my almost eight year old has discovered a new mystery book author (from the librarian) and enjoys logging his minutes reading for the library program. He read one book all in one sitting (I think he read for over 100 minutes that day). One other activity we have been doing regularly is bowling at our alley. There is a “kidsbowlfree” program that is making it affordable, and during our recent heat wave, the air conditioning was lovely. Keep up the good work with your articles!

    By the way at a recent staff meeting, I had a reminder to turn off the screens (see Cris Rowan, I believe she is from your area of the country). I noticed turning off the screens helped lead my kids to the library books. Maybe in a future article you could mention some of her info about the dangers of too much technology.

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