Developmentally Inappropriate Reading

I was at a small get-together with some sixth grade moms last week, and we were debating whether a school-required book our kids are reading is age-appropriate. We have all read the book so we can guide our children through some issues it raises in case their teachers focus on other things.

As we were talking about those issues (i.e. cocaine use, neglectful parents, violence from older brothers, and bad decisions with no consequences), I realized that the extra assignment I had given my fifth and sixth grade sons this summer might be more intense and grown-up than the book we were discussing.

We got a subscription to USA Today, because I decided they should start reading the newspaper, and the writing is less sophisticated than the New York Times or Wall Street Journal, which my husband and I read. Plus, the kids would get drawn in by the sports section.

What a summer of developmentally inappropriate news… for any age!

This really hit home when my eleven year old walked into the kitchen, which at the time was filled with six snacking boys (his brothers and friends, age 6-10) and addressed them in a stream of consciousness:

“Wow, lots of plane crashes lately. How many people do you think have died? And that war in the Ukraine. Do you think it could start World War Three? I mean, really, did you see they bombed a school in Gaza? What’s the world coming to?!”

Six little ice cream covered faces just stared at him. Wide eyes. Still-chubby cheeks. And now heads filled with real-life stories they may not have been ready to hear.

The sad thing is… the truth can be far worse than fiction.

Children’s Book Review: A Series Headed to the Best Seller List

There is a book series that is causing quite a stir at our house. We started with the introduction in the form of a gorgeously illustrated picture book. Then we moved on to the first chapter book. Now we are reading the second. The nine year old could not wait for my slow progress at only two chapters at a time. So he read ahead and finished it in one day. We have already pre-ordered the next two, scheduled for release on October 2.

And we can’t wait for the movie, which hits theaters in November.

If you and your kids are looking for a great series to read together this last half of summer, check out the Guardians of Childhood series by William Joyce. There is adventure, magic, wonder, great characters (the Man in the Moon, Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, a courageous girl named Katherine) and a few scary parts that have thrilled my nine and eight year old kids. For boys and girls ages 7 and up.

To learn more, read my children’s book review, published on Yahoo.