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“I Want Books With Letters In Them”

June 9, 2011

Just when I think Sophie has done everything to amuse me, she goes off and does something else. This time it has to do with book preferences. Sophie is an avid reader and loves going to bookstores with Bryan and me. This shouldn’t surprise anyone since she’s the offspring of two book nerds whose idea of a great date night is spending hours in a bookstore.

A few weeks ago, the three of us journeyed to Borders for the afternoon. Bryan quickly found his place among the bargain books and the business and marketing section. Armed with a few books of interest to me (novels and cookbooks), Sophie and I set out for the children’s section. This is where Sophie checks out random books and observes the other kids reading.

However, I’ve noticed that lately, Sophie tends to get bored in the kids section and wants something more. When we’ve browsed the Goodwill Bookstore, she  spends more time looking through picture-less trade paperbacks than children’s books. Given that pattern, she was ready to leave the Borders children’s section pretty quickly.

And then she made her way to a display of trade paperback Harlequin romance books (why these were next to the children’s section, I will never know). Sophie quickly grabbed a few of the shelves and began “reading” them. Needless to say, I was grateful she couldn’t actually read yet.

Sophie was enthralled! She was staring at pages, turning them carefully, and telling me she was reading the books.

“Sophie, don’t you want to read one of the other book in the kid’s section with pictures?” I asked.

“No,” Sophie responded. “This book is better.”

“Why?” I asked. “There are no pictures for you to look at.”

“Well, I can read the letters. I like books with letters.”

Bryan then asked her what the Harlequin selection was about. To which she replied, “It’s about a cowboy.” I’m pretty sure the Borders saleswoman heard this and was ready to call Child Protective Services. Meanwhile I’m starting to wonder if this kid really can read!

Then came the inevitable request to take the book home.  Knowing full well I was not about to spend money on a Harlequin romance novel, I told her I had something similar at home she can have. And by similar, I mean a trade paperback.

Later that day, Sophie asked me for her “new” book with letters in it. I don’t own that many trade paperbacks, so I pulled off my shelf the only book that matched the description — Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War. While I’ll be the first to agree The Winds of War is a fascinating historical novel, I couldn’t understand why she preferred this World War II epic to Corduroy or the Ladybug Girl series.

But Sophie loved her book! She proceeded to walk around the house for days “reading” The Winds of War. She said it was quite good. I’m now expecting a request any day now for the sequel, War and Remembrance.

The Little Reader
45 Comments leave one →
  1. June 9, 2011 11:36 pm

    This is so cute.

    Makes me think of similar things my kids would do when they were younger. It was as if they were immediately suspicious of anything made to appeal to children.

    Like those keys and car alarm made by Fisher Price to resemble regular keys that kids always wanted to play with?

    My kids never fell for that.

    Or the play remote control.

    Or fake phone, or even cell phone.

    Screw markers or crayons. They wanted pens.

    Kids know they’re being hoodwinked. They’re always one step ahead of us.

    • June 11, 2011 10:00 pm

      That’s probably exactly it! Like trying to give them a fake phone or unworkable cell phone. They know!

  2. June 9, 2011 11:40 pm

    Are the tatoo’s real also?!

    Your little girl is obviously intelligent and clearly knows there is something past ‘baby’ or ‘childrens picture books.’ I used to go to the library by myself all the time when a child (6 onwards) and because no-one told me not to look in the adult sections I was free to advance my reading skills very quickly. Your daughter’s curiosity is a good thing!

    • June 11, 2011 9:59 pm

      HA! No, the tattoos are not real. It’s old-fashioned pen. 🙂 I love that you assumed the grown-up books were for you too. Based on your writing, it’s done you well.

  3. June 10, 2011 3:34 am

    I always liked books with words too! My favorite one to “read” was “Thw Wilderness Family” -one of my Mom’s books when she was a kid. I taught myself to read early. I am sure your kid will too 🙂

    • June 11, 2011 10:01 pm

      I LOVED The Wildreness Family movies. I had no idea they were books. I need to check those out. Sophie would love them.

  4. June 10, 2011 4:20 am

    This is lovely, Isn’t it nice to see children progress. Your daughter is obviously curious to learn. My eldest daughter is going through something similar. So the other day I invested in some Roald Dahl books, which I grew up on. We have started with The Twits. It has lots of words but also great illustrations by Quentin Blake. So far so good, she loves being read a wordier book, makes her feel grown up.

    • June 11, 2011 10:24 pm

      That’s a great idea to start with Roald Dahl or similar books. May make her feel like a grown up!

  5. June 10, 2011 5:34 am

    It is so awesome that she now is “reading” the real books 🙂 It makes me think about Maxie, when he was Sophie’s age or a little younger he use to go through his picture books and I would hear him talking out loud. Then I would ask him what was he doing, he would answer me, I am reading a book 🙂 kids and their imagination are priceless…..

    • June 11, 2011 10:23 pm

      That’s so great! It’s so fascinating whatching them grow and learn.

  6. June 10, 2011 6:22 am

    Sophie is clearly going to be a reader, and will get started at a young age. I hope she never loses that love for books with letters.

    By the way, has your Borders closed?

    • June 11, 2011 10:22 pm

      Me too! To me, reading and the love of books is one of the best gifts. We had four Borders here in San Diego. Sadly all but the one closed. And I’m not holding my breath on this one either. It’s sad!

  7. June 10, 2011 6:46 am

    Sophie’s intellect, wonder and curiosity is so impressive! I could only watch the Winds of War/War and Remembrance miniseries… maybe one day she can fill me in. And you’re lucky you still have a Borders to frequent, ours are pretty much closed here 🙁

    • June 11, 2011 10:20 pm

      Thank you so much, Caryn. That’s a wonderful compliment. Isn’t that so sad about the Borders? We had four in San Diego and three closed. I’m worried about the one that’s left too. Maybe I should have let Sophie buy that book afterall. I’m sure every bit helps!

  8. June 10, 2011 7:21 am

    Leah,
    That is hilarious! You better be careful, because I would bet that kid is going to read before you know it, and you how dangerous that can be! I love that she likes the books with letter and words. It is such a fascinating process to watch children learn how to read, and by far one of my most favorite things to observe as a mother. Go Sophie! (do you have a new look to your blog too:) I like it! MMF

    • June 11, 2011 10:18 pm

      Why yes, I do have a new blog color, header and sidebar. My friend gave me a summer look. Thanks for noticing! And you are so right that the kid will be reading any day now. She was sounding out letters last night. Crazy to watch!

  9. June 10, 2011 7:32 am

    I can remember the librarian telling my mother that The House of Seven Gables was too hard for me. Mom insisted that it wasn’t and I could read Hawthorne if I wanted to. I was only eight and even though I checked it out, I didn’t read it. But I loved that Mom insisted I was capable of choosing for myself. I’m sure I probably checked out books that weren’t appropriate for my age, but I loved that Mom left my reading choices up to me.

    • June 11, 2011 10:17 pm

      I love that story. And good for your mom for letting you chose what to read. You were probably a better reader because of it.

  10. aig63 permalink
    June 10, 2011 7:32 am

    I was an avid reader as a child and though ‘required curriculum reading’ took centre stage during high school and university, I have returned to my love of reading! I do recall reading Harlequins in high school (never bought one – my mom had some! don’t they all say that?!). Of course I wasn’t as young as your darling Sophie, but probably too young to be reading racey sex scenes – half of which (truthfully) I did not fully comprehend! It’s not like they led me to anything sinister or slutty and I soon moved on to ‘better’ reads! I think they probably just presented me with a release from Shakespeare and Steinbeck!

    • June 11, 2011 10:15 pm

      So true! I remember reading those trashy books when I was young and had no idea what they were talking about. I do hope Sophie waits a few more months though!

  11. June 10, 2011 8:15 am

    Very very cute. But amazing, too! If she’s not reading yet, I bet she will be soon….I remember when my son was about that age, we had a few of the “early reader” books, and one day all of a sudden he sat down and read the entire thing to me. I don’t know which of us was more thrilled or surprised! He was laughing so hard by the end — by the fact that he could read it — that he could barely get the words out. It was an amazing transition that it sounds like Sophie may be close to! Exciting!!

    • June 11, 2011 10:14 pm

      That is such a great memory! I love it. And I’m waiting for the day with Sophie. Time flies, doesn’t it?

  12. June 10, 2011 8:56 am

    I hope Sophie hasn’t quite yet finished “The Winds of War.” She’ll put me to shame if she has finished the book 🙂

  13. June 10, 2011 8:59 am

    Kids are way too savvy these days. I am with Elizabeth, I read everything. My Dad was big on the classics so if I wanted to read pulp I had to be sneaky. There will come a time when she is truly pushing for her choice in ‘reading’ … then you’ll have to be ready.. Great pic, btw. Brenda

    • June 11, 2011 10:12 pm

      Too funny, Brenda. Completely agree that it’s just a matter of time before she really does want to read trashy romance novels.

  14. June 10, 2011 9:00 am

    So cute Leah. Get her the illustrated classics! Dad bought those for me and even though they had pictures, they were also “real” books which made me feel totally adult.

    • June 11, 2011 10:11 pm

      Great suggestion! I’m sure she’s ready since she’s half-way through The Winds of War!

  15. June 10, 2011 9:14 am

    It’s amazing how fast they grow up!

    • June 11, 2011 10:10 pm

      Yes indeed. It’s like every day is something new!

  16. June 10, 2011 9:15 am

    That is just too cute…reminds me of me when I was little…I was reading at 3 cause I was too ‘bored’ with the picture books. Well, that is the story that my mom tells me. I love to read and my husband love to read, so I hope when that time comes, our children will be avid readers like mommy and daddy. :0)

    • June 11, 2011 10:09 pm

      I’m sure what your mom says is true! Especially given you love to read and you’re a wonderful writer too. Thanks for commenting.

  17. June 10, 2011 10:24 am

    That is so great. It’s obvious she’s seen you reading a lot. She’ll probably be a natural reader because of it.

    • June 11, 2011 10:08 pm

      Yes, she does see me read quite a bit. Thanks for commenting.

  18. June 10, 2011 4:51 pm

    This is so cute! Sophie is indeed on her way to becoming a reader! She’s graduated from picture books to the written word! What a proud mother you must be! I think you and your husband are great role models for her! When I was a child, I always saw my mom reading. I remember thinking, why is she laughing? What amuses her? And I wanted to be able to do the same!

    • June 11, 2011 10:08 pm

      That is so sweet what you said about your mom and observing her reading. Sophie often sees me reading my books too. Perhaps she’s trying to imitate me, like you! Thanks for your nice comment.

  19. June 11, 2011 11:09 am

    Adorable! I love her! And do you know my Sofia does the same thing…and…she has the same dress as the one Sophie has on in the picture?! Wish you were closer!! Prepare for a lifetime of giggles!! Cant wait to hear more!

    • June 11, 2011 10:05 pm

      That’s so sweet! Yes, it would be nice to live closer and we can enjoy our girls together. Thanks for visiting!

  20. June 11, 2011 9:04 pm

    My 3rd grade teacher told me something that I truly believe and will never forget – “If you want to be smart, all you have to do is read.” Sounds like Sophie is embracing that saying at an early age. 🙂

  21. June 12, 2011 9:05 am

    You’ve got a smart one on your hands, Leah. My daughter was reading at a very early age, so don’t be surprised if Sophie reads soon. Especially as she sees you and her dad enjoying it so much.

    It’s sad about the books stores struggling, but when this crappy economy turns around, I’m sure they will spring back like everything else. Unlike food, books are a luxury item. (Hard to believe, I know.)

  22. June 12, 2011 4:01 pm

    How adorable. Keep fostering that love of reading and we’ll have the next blockbuster novelist on our hands :-).

  23. June 12, 2011 9:19 pm

    So cute Leah! I love the adventures of Sophie! I am sure she is craving more involved stories! We read our favorites from our favorite young adult books from the time our two were quite young. We read as long as their attention span allowed each night. It grew and grew, as did their love of books and all forms of storytelling.

  24. June 13, 2011 4:17 am

    I think it’s phenomenal she loves to read at such a young age! Popped in to say thanks for the kind words on my body image post on SITS!

  25. June 13, 2011 9:47 am

    Way to go, Momma–keep that baby girl reading! Whenever we have children, I definitely want to foster that same book-reading love!

  26. Erin permalink
    June 17, 2011 7:40 am

    Cute post! The Winds of War is my husband’s favorite book and I’ve still never read it- maybe I should just give it to my four-year-old instead!

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