Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
For Your Journal: Writing Prompt

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Do you keep a journal – or wish you could get one started? Literary Mama wants to help. Several times a month, we'll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook and write for 10 minutes. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation – just write. 

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Choosing to Read “Baby Books”

My children love words. Though they own numerous books, their eyes light up when we pass a bookstore. Admittedly, we don’t “pass” one often because my husband and I are bibliophiles, too, and will most likely stop. We also visit the library weekly.

When we’re at these buildings full of books, my children act like we’re at Disney World. Wide-eyed, they’re up and down the aisles, reaching and skimming and choosing which books they’ll bring home. About two years ago, I noticed that, along with middle grade mysteries and 300-page fantasies, they were also picking books written for much younger kids. Because they both read at fairly high levels, I couldn’t understand why they gravitated toward a tower of board books. But they did. Pop-up books. Picture books. Readers. I ever-so-nicely said something along the lines of “Seriously?” But, when I looked closer at these books, I saw beautiful brushstrokes making up an apple tree or Bengal tiger. I read kind words that praised tolerance or described nature, seasons, and animals. I laughed at ridiculous cartoons depicting friendships and happy endings. I became nostalgic over familiar bedtime stories I had read a hundred times to my boys. At seven and ten years old, my children still stack Elephant and Piggie on top of their pile of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.

Sometimes my children need a break from thought-provoking literature, high adventure, nonfiction, or brain-twisting mysteries. Sometimes they just want to grab a book, curl up on the couch, and let their minds wander into magical worlds of delightful illustrations, silly stories, or laugh-out-loud goofiness. And, when that happens, I give them a blanket and a bookmark.

 

In your journal today, think about your children and their reading habits. Do they like to read? If so, do they ever ask for books far beneath their reading level? How do you feel about this? Do you think they might fall behind at school if they consistently read below their grade level?

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Do YOU have a writing prompt to share with Literary Mama readers? Send your 150- to 300-word narrative and associated writing prompt to lmblogeditor (at) literarymama (dot) com. We'd love to read your ideas! 


Sarah Brentyn is a geek, a mum, and a freelance writer who loves good books and good wine. She enjoys writing fiction like those people who enjoy singing in the shower. She is a contributing writer for her local paper where she shares columns about life, kids, and whatever floats her boat. Visit her at Lemon Shark. Connect with her on Twitter at @SarahBrentyn.


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I love this, Sarah. I've noticed this starting to happen with my own seven year old lately. She's picking up books that really (in my mind) we should have passed along to her 2 year old cousin by now. But you raise a good point, and one that I hadn't considered: needing a break and the space to just wander (in their minds) aimlessly.
Thanks, Kristin. Yes, both my kids still have picture books here but, when we clean out, they don’t want to get rid of them. They’re reading books with 300-500+ pages so I understand. And you have to read what you love regardless of what the age group on the back says. Not to mention I do this myself—a bookshelf with Amy Tan and Gregory Maguire next to Jessica Day George and Ally Condie mixed in with Sense & Sensibility and Little Women. So, there you have it.
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