(And, what the heck is up with my super long titles these days?…)
This is an important issue, something that we need to consider when we venture into parenthood and spawn — er, bring our lovely sons and daughters into the world. (Yes, I really mean “lovely” while I have a toddler literally pawing at me to obtain a restricted object.)
Anyway, when we (meaning people who value reading) have a family, the idea is that we want to pass this love on to our own children. And how should we do that? Well, of course there’s reading to them when they’re still too young to understand not to chew on books. And encouraging them to visit libraries (once they’re old enough to rein it before they destroy the whole building). And once they are old enough, to choose something to read. Not just the assigned stuff for school, but something for fun.
Now, with my oldest, I have successfully created a monster. (Yes, I meant to say it like that.) When he was in 4th grade or so, White Fang was growing a bit tired of the juvenile fiction he was accustomed to (he’d already gone through Harry Potter, and didn’t care for Percy Jackson or A Series of Unfortunate Events). So, in an effort to make sure boredom stayed away, I went on the hunt for a long series with an age-appropriate target audience. After wearing holes in the carpet at my local library, I discovered Warriors.
Warriors is brilliant. It has action, mystery, friendship, love, family, and plenty of death. (Don’t worry, nothing too gory.) Cats die all the time — in battle, from sickness, from being on the wrong side of a human road, from something going wrong with having kittens, and sometimes, even just from old age. So while I wouldn’t recommend it for your 6-year-old, I can confidently state (just Google “Warriors fan art”) that middle-schoolers and up love this series.
And this epic is perfect for breeding good bookworm habits (that will one day turn against us). The series requires an attention span, remembering what happens from one book to the next, analyzing character motivations, and even “shipping” their favorite couples or potential relationships.
White Fang has certainly lived up to all of this, and more. He has read over 50 books (including some of the novellas and manga) in the Warriors “canon,” knows some of the YouTube fan videos by heart, used to be involved in one of the roleplaying games, started his own fan community, and has decided just what needs to happen next in the newest series.
Last week, I pre-ordered the third instalment in A Vision of Shadows, so that it would arrive on release day (just like a good bookdragon parent), and when it showed up in his room, he proceeded to stay up late reading the first 100 pages. That’s a good boy.
However, this type of behavior can breed obsession. While there are much worse things than Warriors that he could be fixating on, he’s a bit predisposed to getting slightly obsessed, anyway, and he needs to have other stuff going on in his life. Like, friends, school, sleep, balanced meals…
And — just to prove what a truly bookdragon parent I am — since he has almost completed his TBR (yes, I’m serious), and Shattered Sky was nearly the last item on it as of January 2017… Yes, I am freaking out a little here. Because I am not made of money, and I cannot order the rest of the TBR right now, and at the rate he’s going, Shattered Sky will reach its place on the shelf before this spring break is out…
See what I mean about the plan backfiring? Here I am, thinking it’d be just great to have someone else in the family who shares my passions, and then…
And in terms of sharing the fandom, I will not be able to read Shattered Sky until he finishes it. But I currently have my own TBR, and A Vision of Shadows #3 is a bit further down it. So I will be behind him, again. (I’ve been playing catch-up with Warriors forever.)
And he’s already told me something that happened, drat it.
I have officially created a monster.