For the longest time, my sons have gone to the same section when they visit the bookstore, the kids section.
However, with my older son having turned 13 recently, I looked at the section of books that featured the Magic Tree House, Hank Zipzer, and various other elementary school heroes and decided it was time that he looked elsewhere. With elsewhere in mind, I pointed him in the direction of the Young Adult section.
I didn’t know if he was ready. Granted, I’d pushed him before. As I’ve mentioned in this space, my older son has difficulty reading. Every time he gets comfortable with one reading level, my wife and I make him move. It started with basic books like the Frog and Toad series. He didn’t want to change. Then he got comfortable with the writing of Magic Tree House and really didn’t want to change. He was so determined to stay put that he pushed back. Finally, a love of baseball drew him into the Henry Winkler’s Hank Zipzer series. The tales of an adventurous mouse introduced him to Beverly Cleary.
Young Adult was going to be another push.
It wouldn’t be his first foray. He’d read Harry Potter, or at least tried to read Harry Potter. (Those books are in the kids section, which still amazes me.) However, at some point, his struggles with reading get the best of him. I’d expected him to push back once again, but was surprised. He liked the idea of Young Adult. He relished the fact that he was growing up.
We went to our local Borders on Saturday. I had a big coupon and my eye on a Japanese history book. (Yes, I know. Fun reading.) I dropped my son off at the YA section while I headed to the history area. When I went to see what he was doing, I discovered he’d picked out two books: Heat by Mike Lupica and The Boy Who Saved Baseball by John Ritter. (No, not that John Ritter.) I asked if he wanted to get them. He said he wasn’t ready.
I recognize, though, that it’s a matter of time. He has his summer reading list and has to work on that, but I know he’ll eventually move on to the next reading level. (Though my wife is teaching him to prefer the library and there’s nothing wrong with that.). I just hope one day he’ll choose to progress on his own, without his Mom and I shoving him forward.
And I look forward to that day.