Culture Street

Tania McCartney, the agony aunt of children's literature, offers words
of wisdom. She will be posting every fortnight. Send an email with your
questions to Tania at info@newfrontier.com.au  

Dear Tania,
My 9-year-old daughter refuses to read junior fiction. She simply loves picture books and I’m worried she won’t extend herself to more advanced works – both out of enjoyment and to improve her reading comprehension. Can you recommend some titles she might warm to?

How glorious your daughter loves picture books – so do I, and I’m a lot older than nine! I remember spending quite some time reading Archie comics as a tween and horrifying my mother, who continuously thrust more literary works under my nose. Let’s just say she needn’t have worried.

As you’re aware, kids develop at such different speeds and reading variants is top of the list – but of course, some kids are also strongly driven by visuals. My suggestion would be to offer her some picture books for Older Readers first like Home and Away by John Marsden or The Arrival by Shaun Tan – or high text picture books like Alison Lester’s Running with the Horses.

Next, start her on historical picture books which require a more sophisticated level of comprehension. Suggestions are Nancy Bentley by Tracey Hawkins and The Red Poppy by David Hill. If she enjoys those, offer her Graphic Novels next. Try Scarygirl by Nathan Jurevicius or The Little Prince graphic novel edition.

Keep a good batch of junior fiction novels and historical fiction around so she can flip them open and take a peek at any given opportunity. New Frontier’s new Little Rockets series is ideal because the books are fun, concise, and feature coloured illustrations on every second page.

Keep the picture books coming, never force her to read what you think she should, and always offer a large variety of books. Library visits for visual children are also a priceless way for them to explore new genres of book.

The key message of the National Year of Reading for 2012 is to develop a love of reading for pleasure. While you certainly want to try to extend your daughter, it’s truly wonderful she is reading picture books for pleasure.

Tania McCartney is an author of both adult and children’s books. She is the founder of Kids Book Review and is an ambassador for the National Year of Reading 2012. Her latest titles include Riley and the Grumpy Wombat and Beijing Tai Tai. Her first book with New Frontier will be out in 2013.  You can follow Tania on Twitter.

Do you have a question for Tania? She will be back on our new and improved site on Monday 16th June. Send your questions to info@newfrontier.com.au.

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