[DWJ] author flirting

Gili Bar-Hillel gbhillel at netvision.net.il
Sat Jan 31 16:32:10 EST 2009

Melissa, if he hasn't discovered them yet, sounds like your boy would enjoy
the Percy Jackson series. Also Philip Reeve's books, possibly.

-----Original Message-----
From: dwj-bounces at suberic.net [mailto:dwj-bounces at suberic.net]On Behalf Of
Melissa Proffitt
Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009 6:58 PM
To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion
Subject: Re: [DWJ] author flirting

On Thu, 29 Jan 2009 23:18:54 -0500, J. E. Powers wrote:

> (Actually I've had
>little luck foisting DWJ on children; I think maybe it's best to play
>hard-to-get. What do other people do?.)
>I think "hard-to-get" is a good tactic - especially for 11/12 yr. old
>children.  I convinced my son to choose THE GAME for his book group.  All
>the kids in the group loved it, but he still says he disliked it.  When he
>chooses books to read, I don't make any fuss about it one way or the other.
>And if I see a book I think he would enjoy, I quietly check it out on my
>card and then leave it in the library bag.
>-Jill~whose 8 yr. old still likes books that mama chooses!

Hope that lasts.  :)

My two oldest daughters are both fans of DWJ; we read aloud _The Ogre
Downstairs_, _Charmed Life_, _Howl's Moving Castle_ and _Archer's Goon_, and
they became convinced that all her books are wonderful.  The second-oldest
has a mild reading disorder, so she listens to audiobooks more often. _Witch
Week_ is her favorite "comfort listening."  And my youngest daughter is 8
and just likes all kind of stories.  She has, in fact, started recommending
books to me, which is cute.

The boy, however...the boy drives me INSANE.  First, he has his father's
obnoxious habit of asking me "What should I read next?" and then rejecting
EVERY suggestion I make.  This despite the fact that I have introduced him
to every book he loves.  Second, he's simultaneously an excellent reader and
a reluctant reader; he's reading at a grade level much higher than his own,
but his interests are extremely narrow.  Not just narrow in the sense of
only liking fantasy, or only liking adventure fantasy--he only likes fantasy
with lots and lots of action that begins on the very first page, or possibly
a trebuchet.  He hasn't yet developed the skills to enjoy a story that
unfolds more slowly.  This is normal for his age (10), but since his reading
age is a lot higher, I keep on being frustrated by him.

(Also, he has yet to learn that I am a Jeenyus and Allways Right when it
comes to books.  This is the kid who brought something home from the school
library when he was seven and was genuinely astonished to find that his
ancient mother had read it already.  Like the book only existed in the
School Universe or something.)

Anyway, more to the point, it's a lot easier to train your own children's
tastes than to influence someone else's kids.  You have the opportunity to
start reading to your kids when they're very young, and those memories
really do shape their developing tastes in reading.  I'm certain that my
second daughter's love of DWJ is entirely due to having been read those
books as a child.  Reading was always so difficult and frustrating for her
that for a long time she would declare "I hate books" any time the subject
came up--even though she was checking out four or five audiobooks a week and
had her earbuds permanently attached to her head.  Young children love what
they see their parents loving.

My approach to getting other children to read DWJ is twofold:

1. Find out if they liked Harry Potter, then say "I know something EVEN
2. The Thomas Lynn tactic, where I send a book anonymously to a friend's or
relative's child with a brief note.  It's amazing how open kids are to
reading books they get in mysterious packages.

Melissa Proffitt

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