This isn’t a theory at this point, it has been affirmed by decades of research. To ask “What if a positive reading experience totally ruins reading?” is as ridiculous at this point as asking if vaccines cause autism: not because the question itself has never been worth asking, but because it’s been answered exhaustively and to keep asking it shows a dogged incuriosity in the facts.
I don’t especially care for Percy Jackson myself (I’m more of a Cronus Chronicles fan), but this isn’t about my taste. Of all the challenges kids becoming lifelong readers — no access to books, no access to books about kids like themselves, socialized negative attitudes about reading, a lack of positive role models who read — one thing absolutely not on the list is a beloved series that has millions of kids reading. That is the solution, not the problem.
The world needs YA literature about Japanese Internment during the Second World War, but they shouldn’t be the only books Japanese-American children get to see themselves reflected in. This isn’t to encourage the erasure or minimalisation of the realities that people of colour have historically faced, but rather a desire for authors and publishers to realise that all of us existed in America outside the times of our most publicised oppressions. And that, even during the most difficult times, we still had lives that didn’t necessarily completely revolve around the overhead political themes of the day.And here’s Aarti:
NO ONE gets to decide what is authentic and what is not. One story being true does not negate another. But there is always more than just one story.
- Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (which came with a signed bookplate :D)
- Once Upon a Time by Marina Warner
- The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
- Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
- Being Wrong by Kathryn Schulz
- Stray by Elissa Sussman
- Greenglass House by Kate Milford
Yay, books. They make me happy.
Having said that, I’m considering embarking on a serious book buying ban next year — not only to save money and make sure I don’t run out of shelf space, but because I think actively focusing on my TBR pile for a while would make for some very satisfying reading times. The books I buy are generally ones I’m excited to read, so it’s in my best interest to make sure they don’t linger on half-forgotten piles for years.