Teaching books (was Re: Pratchett)

meparks at mtholyoke.edu meparks at mtholyoke.edu
Mon Nov 24 16:28:58 EST 2003

Quoting Melissa Proffitt <Melissa at Proffitt.com>:

> My biggest problem is keeping her under the illusion that her mom knows
> best.  I have to limit the number of crap books she brings home from the
> library--even though the books she *loves* are the good ones, she still
> likes Pokemon novelizations.  Twerp.

Y'know, on one hand, I completely understand why you would want to point her 
away from such books, but on the other. . . the older I get, the more I 
appreciate the fact that I read _so_ many Babysitters Club Books.  I think I 
devoured the first sixty or so before I outgrew them, and while on some 
occasions I have regretted the amount of time that took away from me reading 
other, better things, I think that overall it was worth it.  I was also a child 
with ADD who loved books, and I would say that the formulaic nature of those 
books gave me something to hold on to, and taught me something about the way 
that writing fits together.  I would not call them works of genius or anything 
approaching that, but they did help me develop a certain structure for reading 
that I quite needed.  I also think that they helped me be a better writer 
(though if I had read nothing else I am sure I would be quite dire), simply 
because they helped me understand the very very basic structure of easily 
readable writing.

This reminds me of something that happened in one of my high school writing 
classes--we were asked to name an author who had helped us become better 
writers.  Around me people mentioned Sartre, or Dostoyevsky, or any other 
impressive name they could think of.  My answer?  Dave Barry.  He may not be 
high culture (though I would still rank him _much_ higher than any of the Baby 
Sitters Club authors), but I can't think of _anyone_ who does a better job at 
creating a well-structured short piece--especially his opening and closing 

So I wouldn't worry _too_ much about the Pokemon!  It sounds like you're giving 
your kids more than enough good stuff to balance it ;)


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