Tag Archives: teen novels

This is not another teen, fluffy, love story.


Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley

Don't_call_me_Baby

Before you pass over this book because of its title please read on…

This teen novel will be released tomorrow but I was fortunate to read the first 6 chapters and it not only has me hooked due to the great writing but is challenging some of our thoughts on what we as adults share online and how it may affect others …. Yes, I did say this is a teen novel but I think all parents could read this.

Imogene, the central character, is a 15 year old in her last year before high school (it is based in America) and her best friend, Sage, have mothers who blog with very little consideration to the effect they have on their daughters’ lives. Many parents tweet, post on Facebook pictures, comments and other moments of their children’s lives, I know I have! Some people are unaware of the repercussions of this act.

“Nobody should share their life with the World Wide Web.” – Imogene (page 43)

This novel may make kids aware that some information that seems okay at the time to share may, at a later date be one that they regret.  It highlights that in this world of the Internet, privacy and personal space can be violated and how even the people closest to us can be the perpetrator.

The Internet and the tools we use allow easy access to post and share information. We consistently hear how we need to be more vigilant with our teens and their access and use of technology but as this story highlights that, many adults may not have the necessary knowledge in this area or skills to ensure their information is private. How many have Facebook accounts and not checked their privacy settings are in place? I know my husband’s had nothing and so I had to rectify this on the weekend.

The Australian government have a website for kids, teens and parents to get answers and help if needed in regards to digital footprint, digital shadow, cyber safety, cyber bullying etc. This novel, to me is a great way to introduce and discuss the issues that are now part of today’s world.

Looking forward to buying it and hoping once my teenage girl reads it she may realise I am not that bad after all.

Lastly, here is the book trailer. It is great to watch too! In the near future this will be the way books will be promoted and children can get into the fun of doing this too. I will post about how in the near future!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Proficient Readers

Are classics that important?

My mum had my brothers and I reading classics from an early age.  I was reading Austen, Bronte, Dickens whilst in primary school. I was not an amazing English student but I loved reading and reading classics was all I knew.  I was not allowed to read other novels. So when I was told in my first English class, in high school, we were going to read and analyse a John Steinbeck novel I was thrilled. I had already read Of Mice and Men (written 1937) and I believed that soon we would be reading Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Kafka.  My excitement and enthusiasm were soon deflated when I was given, The Red Pony, a very depressing book, especially for animal lovers.

I now know why I love reading classics. They contain beautifully constructed prose, are filled with information of a world long gone and gives an insight into books and novels that were really a cherished form of art and quite exclusive.

FAST FORWARD 17+ years

I still LOVE reading and as I have stated previously, I have four gorgeous children. I wanted to instill this love of reading, especially classics, but sadly they love every other genre but not classics. They have read one or two but I have found unless I read to them (even my soon to be 15 year old still loves me to read to him) they find it unenjoyable. My children find the prose to wordy, filled with too much description, old colloquialisms and are just “BORING!”.  Modern novels grab the readers attention from the first paragraph, have less adjectives and descriptive paragraphs and are less “wordy”, so I am told by Miss R.

Is this a result of today’s society? The hustle, bustle and fast paced world that we live in? We don’t have time to waste even when reading?

Is it because the other types of media,TV, Computers, DVDs etc, are so engaging and give instantaneous gratification? Classics take a few chapters for one to be engrossed into the story.

Have we, as a society, moved on from these types of books? Has language changed that much?

Are kids today lazier or not as intelligent (if so what has caused this?) and find these types of books too much effort?

My mother thinks it is today’s parents’ fault, and that I am failing as a parent, as we don’t force our children to read the classics. I personally don’t want to force my children to read a book of my choosing.  I do, suggest books I think they may enjoy. I know that they are not dumb so one may skip, flick through a book pretending to read. Even worse they could begin to detest reading if forced to read something that is of no interest to them. So I will never force them to read a classic hoping in time they may choose to read one.

I know my children love reading as much as I do but they enjoy different genres to my favourites.  Which, has led to many interesting and enjoyable dinner table conversations. Which I think is what reading is all about, connecting with others by sharing ideas and thoughts.

 

 

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Filed under General thoughts, Proficient Readers, Reluctant Reader

All children are different!

Being a mother of four children, one would expect that I would know by the third child that learning to read for them would be easy and it would not cause so much angst but each child is different. They all have different personalities, likes, dislikes and thus why not different learning styles.

My first child was hard work and I mean hard work! He was a typical boy did not want to sit and learn how to read sight words.  This meant I had to spend so much time and loss of hair getting him to sit down and learn to read. I also was fortunate to have a mum who only had one child and was very eager to do posters with the sight words laminated with sticky dots so we can add them to the poster or play games with. I had a new born baby and learning sight words was like Chinese torture for both he and I.

Miss R taught herself to read and before she started school she was reading basic books and was able to spell all 200 sight words.  She even found sentence construction easy. She was like the character Matilda, in the book Matilda, by Roald Dahl but we were not like that family!

Miss S started school in a different state and missed the crucial year of schooling where sight words and sounding out starts. She is now in year 5 and I still believe she struggles, even though the teachers say she is fine.

Miss M is similar to Miss R and reads with fluency and expression, she is only 8 and my husband and I believe she is the better reader of all four. She also enjoys reading and will be found most times when not playing with her nose in a book.

Now, all four can read but all learnt to read in different ways and now Mr L is the bookworm and is very precious about the care of his books.

So, what is the best way to teach a child to read? Should we be teaching them sight words before they start school, so as they have the advantage over other little ones? Is reading early a sign of intelligence? When is the best time to start reading to your children? Do you need to read yourself to model reading behaviours? What are the better books that children should read? Are some books better than others? Should we encourage or discourage our children to have access to these; classics, modern literature, e-books, audio books, comics and graphic novels?

I hope this can stimulate discussion and ideas to ensure a passion of mine will be a passion of many in the future generations.

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Filed under Early & Emergent Readers, General thoughts, Pre-Readers (Snuggle Books), Proficient Readers, Reading Programs, Reluctant Reader