Something that happens heaps at the Children’s Desk is parents coming up and confiding “My child ONLY likes to read Rainbow Fairies/Captain Underpants/Famous Five/insert popular series here; how can I get them to read some proper books?” I’m sure even Roman Librarians were faced with parents saying “Meus parvulus tantum amo – I mean – my child ONLY likes to read Homer; how can I get them to read some proper books?” There are two things I normally tell parents in this situation :
1 – Any reading is good reading – comics, magazines, web pages even <groan> Dan Brown is perfectly satisfactory reading for any child. If your child likes to read, that’s awesome! Don’t get hung up on what they should be reading, just focus on what they enjoy.
2 – I used to read SUCH garbage when I was a kid and I turned out to be a wide-reading-modest-adult-genius: Sweet Valley High, Babysitters Club, Flowers in the Attic and pulp horror novels were all part of my reading diet, but it didn’t stop me from reading ‘proper’ books once I was a bit older.
One of the best things about my job is seeing kids tastes change and develop over time. It seems like it takes no time at all for a child to change from reserving all 84 (!) books in the Rainbow Magic series, to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, or The Once and Future King.