As the mother of a reluctant reader, I find myself scouring online lists of the “Best Books for YA” for THE book that will hook my daughter. Anna is almost 14 and doesn’t quite like her mom’s recommendations, so I am grateful to her friends and teachers who help her occasionally find that book that affects her deeply and compels her to read more…at least for a little while. The last book that she loved was Wonder by R.J. Palacio and it is the only book I’ve ever seen her reread.
I have to admit that I am finding it harder and harder to find books for Anna’s age group that I would want her to read. Reading the blurbs for many of the recommended titles makes me question why so many books for middle and high school students are so depressing and seemingly hopeless. Perhaps, if I actually read some of the titles, I’d find that there is some redemptive quality to them, but I have always found it hard to read a deeply sad book and I find it even more difficult now. I want my daughter to read exhilarating books that inspire her and help her look at her world in positive, hopeful ways.
I will continue to search for books that I hope will catch my daughter’s attention and will help her see the world through hopeful eyes. It may not be what’s popular, but I truly believe it is exactly what our children need now.