Monday, February 20, 2017

Sorry Folks, I Did Not Like Little House on the Prairie

Do you remember the first book that really swept you away? A book that took you to a new world that you never wanted to leave?

I remember the first book that did that for me. I was in grade 5, and I wasn't much of a reader. In fact, I stayed as far from books as I could. In my early elementary years, I struggled to learn to read, so I figured it just wasn't my thing. I'd been given the Little House on the Prairie series. I liked the show, so decided, despite not being a big reader, to give it a try. I read a couple chapters, but didn't like it. So, my young self said, "See, reading is boring." I decided stick to movies and TV. I loved Star Wars, Star Trek, Thunder Cats, Wonder Woman, Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica.

My grade five teacher read to us a couple of times per week which I usually found boring. I'd space out and imagine my own stories. But one day, he started a new book--The Keeper of the Isis Light by Monica Hughes. It didn't take long before the story of a human girl living on the distant planet of Isis with only a robot companion captured me. I started looking forward to story time. I hung on every word and was blown away by the twist ending. My imagination soared. No one had ever told me that the science fiction I loved on TV and in the movies came in book form!

This book opened up a new world for me. It's no wonder that science fiction is now the genre I choose to write most.

Perhaps you know someone who doesn't like to read. This isn't a permanent state of being. Most reluctant readers simply haven't found the right book. Like me, they need to find a story that sparks their imagination. Don't assume reluctant readers will like what you like. Young readers especially need an abundance of choices so they can learn what they enjoy. When reading brings joy, people become lifelong readers.

I'd love to hear which book or series made you fall head over heels for reading or which drove you to start writing in the comments below.


Melinda Marshall Friesen lives in a little house on the prairies where she writes speculative fiction for teens and adults. Check out her sci-fi/dystopian One Bright Future series here: Enslavement and Subversion.


Kara Reynolds said...

I've always been a reader, so it hurt my soul when my 7yo declared that he didn't like to read. His teacher started reading Sideways Stories from Wayside School (which I read as a kid!) to his class, and that kickstarted reading for fun for him. I think the "finding the right book" quote is key!

J Lenni Dorner said...

My brother hated to read. As it was mandatory in school, I loaned him some horror books. His teacher wasn't thrilled with the reading choices, but it was the only genre my brother ever got into. Thanks, Stephen King.