Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A disappointing win

            I normally do not like the summer reading programs our local libraries have each year.  The idea of bribing kids to read by rewarding them with little plastic toys or pieces of easily breakable junk just bothers me.   You can read my whole summer reading program manifesto here.

This summer though, my children learned about a library not too far away that offered free books as the prize for their reading program.  Since the premise behind this was one I agree whole-heartedly with (that the true reward of reading is the joy of reading), I allowed my kids to sign up.   All summer we drove passed the closest library, just five minutes from our home, to go the one that gave away free books.  It was about 25 minutes away but, for my children, I was willing to make the trek each week.

My children have all always loved books.  This summer, I noticed that my middle daughter, at nine years old, really took off in her reading for the first time though.  She used to prefer to be read to, but this summer she discovered the enjoyment of reading to herself.   
 This summer, she seemed always to have a book along with her.  Every night when I tucked her in, I’d find her curled up in bed with her nose in a book.   She would announce every few days that she had finished another great story and was anxious for a new one.   It was really cool to see her take off with her reading skills and join her older siblings in their favorite pastime of reading.  

The library's reading program ended last week.  It was a successful summer from our point of view.  We have lots of new books on our book shelves (so many we cannot shelve them neatly anymore) and we have a brand new voracious reader on our hands.  That was enough for us.  We were all happy.

Then, last Friday afternoon the phone rang.  It seemed my middle daughter’s name had been chosen for an end-of-the-summer-reading-program prize from the library.  We went to the library curious as to what the prize would be.  

As it turned out, not only did my daughter win a prize, she won THE prize, the grand prize of all the summer readers.  Her award?  The entire collection of Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.  Eight brand new hard cover books full of disrespect, crude humor, and bathroom references.

I may be *a little* picky about summer reading programs but I am *really, really, really* picky about my children’s choice of books.  Call me a literature snob—but Diary of a Wimpy Kid is not appropriate reading material for my children.  My daughter knew this and as we drove home with her new books stacked in a bag next to her, her little face showed nothing but disappointment.  

We have decided that this is not quite fair.   

No grand prize winner should be without a prize.   

No avid reader should be left with substandard stories.   

So Diary of A Wimpy Kid will be donated to someone who will appreciate their children reading anything.  And my little winner will be treated by Mommy and Daddy to a trip to Barnes and Noble for a few good books she can choose herself.... with final approval from the purchasers, of course.


  1. Oh bummer! Too bad the library went with that book series when there is so much classic literature in good taste out there!

  2. Val- I thought the same thing. Shame on them for encouraging such disappointing books when THERE IS such worth-while reading material! Oh well, I guess they just wanted to appeal to the popular crowd. My daughter is happy with her alternative prize.

  3. Nichola-

    Thank you so much for your sweet comment. I had to take it down b/c I do not like to use the children's names on my blog. Trying to "protect the innocents" you know? I will absolutely pass your congrats along though. I hope you are doing well.

    Much love,



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