The reluctant shopper

Check out this lovely video created by Annick Press about books for reluctant readers. It features the 50 Questions series and Seeing Red.

The video points out all sorts of reluctant-reader appeal tactics, such as cartoons, graphic-novel panels, short chunks of text. All wonderful, helpful things. But I think there’s one additional key to attracting reluctant readers: don’t be the shopping mall.

I spent part of Family Day weekend in a shopping mall, and it was rather excruciating. Something about fluorescent lighting and off-gassing polyester turns my brain to mush. But the main problem is that we don’t go to the mall to get the best of any one thing. We go to browse a billion almost-the-same, basically decent things. The mall is a collection of everything and the best of nothing.

Likewise, many non-fiction books are collections of everything. Every fact the writer can find. But kids don’t want to sort through the racks, and they shouldn’t have to. They should be able to flip open an information book and find the strangest fact, the most interesting person, and the very best story.

For the rest, there’s always Wikipedia.

Or the mall.