The Boy is not a reader. I’ve mentioned it here before so it’s certainly not news but with him starting middle school, it’s become increasingly obvious to me that his reading comprehension is not where it needs to be. He struggles a bit with his everyday coursework if reading is involved. He tends to forget important facts and his vocabulary is limited. So we had a conversation about it. I told him that if he read regularly, that these other things would eventually fall into place.
BUT, he said that he has nothing to read. That he goes to the library and all he sees are books about vampires, talking animals and eating disorders. So we headed out to the bookstore and this is what we found:
…books about vampires, talking animals and eating disorders.
Look at those shelves! 80% of it, if not more, dedicated to books about vampires. Well, the kid doesn’t like vampires and a tween boy really doesn’t want to read about girl issues either. So we weeded through the pile and came up with Alex Rider which has a teen spy as its protagonist. The Boy thinks it’s just “ok” and not fantastic. He wants to read books that are more realistic but written from a boy’s point of view. He really enjoys S.E. Hinton but he’s read everything she’s written already.
I have to say, that for a 12-year-old, The Boy can handle more mature themes. It seems as if he seeks them out but can’t find books that work for him. I figured it was an excuse he was using to get out of reading but he’s right. The shelves are limited if you’re not into what’s popular right now.
Oh, I’m sure there are books out there, but they are aren’t being promoted in any way, shape or form when you go into the bookstore or even the library for that matter. All you see is a sea of black and red.
Is there a problem here that I am not aware of? Is it just a huge marketing push to display these types of books. Are they really THAT popular? I sort of thought the vampire thing was fading out. Or perhaps authors that cater to young adults cater to that genre because it’s what sells? Where are the books about teen boys, dealing with everyday teen issues? It seems as if an entire group is being overlooked. Am I right?
If you have any suggestions for The Boy, please post a comment. Sometimes I think if he got past the cover of a book, he’d actually enjoy the story but apparently he is a cover snob like his mom! He see’s a kid with fangs or a girl looking hungry and he heads the other way and don’t even get him started about talking dragons.