Future Readers

My daughter loves to read books together. And she loves pretending to read. And she likes to write. Keep in mind she’s three, so we’re not talking Great American Novel yet. She makes a mean ‘F’. It warms the cold, bitter cockles of my heart. She likes that there are pictures of me in the back of some books, and she likes the songs I write her.

The reason I am thinking about my daughter is because I realized the other day that at some point in the future she will want to read what I have written. It is going to be a very eye-opening day. To say the least.

I was lucky…my reading was never really censored. I think my dad gave me a well-thumbed copy of A Clockwork Orange when I was eleven or so. That was a pretty awesome thing for my dad to do in hindsight. I read it. I loved it. I was disturbed and intrigued. But he didn’t write the book.

There’s not much I plan on being dishonest about when it comes to my kids. That’s bad territory right there – lying is never a good strategy with kids (or anyone else). But we are going to have a very interesting conversation after she reads my fiction.

When I was a kid, I got to tell everyone that my dad flew helicopters. Pretty cool. I’ve got to train my girl to say post-modern, existential, character studies or something equally pretentious. That much is clear.

I can picture it now. What does your dad do for a living? Oh, he writes fiction about depression, drug addicts, and emotionally disturbed people. Ha! Man, parent teacher conferences are going to be fun. Maybe I can sell some books there.

There are a lot of ironies in being a writer and a parent. For instance, Curious George is one of the weirdest books ever. I don’t know why that one has stood the test of time. And my daughter likes some books that just plain suck. Why mince words? But, I can’t say, hell no, we’re not reading Fred and Ted again, it’s stupid!

Being a parent has made me love Roald Dahl more than ever – and I loved him plenty before. Trust me.

My daughter is hip to the Kindle, too. Although she thinks it is a touch screen. Damn iPhones.

Mostly, what got me thinking about all this, aside from the need to write a blog post, was how amazing it will be for my girls growing up. What a great time to be a reader! Man, I would have given anything for a Kindle when I was a kid. I actually kind of invented it. I was convinced when I was a kid that everyone would have computer comic books where you put a disk in, each disk a new story. OK, I was off by a little. Point being, as writers, we should take heart. Tell me kids only want to play video games all you want. My girl likes books. The other one is inside a uterus, but I have faith.

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JD Mader is a Contributing Author for Indies Unlimited and author of the novels ‘Joe Cafe’ and ‘The Biker’ – co-author of the mighty ‘Bad Book’ (available here). For more information, please see the IU Bio page and his blog: www.jdmader.com.

Author: JD Mader

JD Mader is an award winning short story writer and novelist. 'Joe Café' and 'The Biker' are out now, as well as 'Please, no eyes'. and the collaborative 'Bad Book'. Mader has been writing for half his life and has no plans on stopping any time soon. Learn more about JD Mader at his blog and his Amazon author page.

26 thoughts on “Future Readers”

  1. Keep the faith. 🙂 My son had some dyslexia growing up (still does) – hated reading. Now he reads tons and enjoys hard bitten detective stuff (not Fantasy, alas). My daughter has always read. And she does enjoy Fantasy. One out of two ain't bad. As long as you read to them they will, eventually, be readers, too.

  2. Thank you for this, and thank you for making readers! One of my fondest childhood memories is of my parents, putting down their grown-up things and reading to us…

  3. Always read to my boy. Even when I thought it was going over his head. Lord of the Rings in its entirety at age six, lol. He reads now. Probably prefers video games, but I don't think that's a negative. It's not passive. If anything, it's less passive than reading, when you think about it. Social, too; unlike the stereotype, boys tend to game more online, strategize and banter with friends, than alone in dingy basements. It's all good. Each generation learns new contexts by which to interpret the world. Without the Hitchhiker's Guide (books/movies), for example, my son wouldn't have made the connection between applying for a Social Insurance Number and the Vogons. Made me laugh. As for my stuff, he just rolls his eyes. But I know he still reads some of it.

  4. Great post! I don't let a single day go by without reading to my little guy. I never really thought about him reading my work sometime in the future, but I truly hope he is interested in it!

  5. I always read to my children and they still love reading as adults. My grandson learnt to read by typing in words on his computer games when he was two! He's very advanced, he's now 12.

  6. I think your daughter will love what you write no matter what it is about because you wrote it. My kids were mad at me for all the time I spent on the computer in the early 1990s writing because it was time I wasn't spending with them when they were little. But I read every Harry Potter book to my daughter when they came out and she has read my contemporary romance and has helped a bit peddling it to her friends. Hasn't paid off yet, lol. My son, 25, has not read it and probably won't just because of the genre, and though I read to him a lot when he was growing up, for some reason he is not the avid reader I was growing up. Great post.

  7. I don't know if I will ever have any kids, but I can't wait until my niece starts reading my books. She is still in the unicorns & rainbows phase now, but maybe in three or four more years she will be ready to read her Aunt Bec's books.

  8. At one point when my older daughter was in middle school, she said to me in an accusing tone, "You *made* us like to read!"

    To which I replied, "Yes, I did. In fact, I'm pretty proud of that."

    In an interesting turnabout, she went on to spend most of her high school years writing Harry Potter slash fanfiction. She's 25 now and still writing slash, and I can't bear to read *her* stuff.

  9. I don't have children so I can't speak to that experience at all, but you know I'll leave a comment anyway :)) I don't think it will be a shock to your girls when they read the content of your books, given your unique persona and the music you listen to and create. I have a feeling it will just be set aside in the category of "oh that's just Dad/Daddy/Papa/Pa/Pops/the old man."

    What they WILL see as the unique and extraordinary gift is love of reading and writing. Worlds open up, communication begins, life long learning takes place. All of that because you've opened the door. It won't matter the utensils/tools they use, they will use them. They will be in awe that you did that for them. 🙂

  10. Sweet! You're having another baby- Congrats! My 16 year old hates to read but this year I bought him an audio book and he listened and read along with the book. He really liked that and read the entire book instead of just looking up the chapter summaries on Google… there's hope.

  11. You're worrying without cause JD! By the time your girls are ready to read your fiction they will already know more swear words than you do AND those swear words will be current. Besides, if I can read Joe Cafe and not even /notice/ the swear words neither will they!

    The content may be a little over their heads but I suspect you'll be the kind of Dad who really talks to his kids so they will grow up with a sophisticated worldview and the capacity to at least ask the big questions even if they can't yet answer them.

    Sadly parent teacher interviews are always going to be painful. This is inevitable so just steel yourself for 1/2 an hour of bull and then keep on raising your kids to be thinking human beings. 😀

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