You’re not one of those kids who thinks books are boring, are you?
I’ve always kind of hated these supposedly clever, “oh, you hate reading, well here’s something for you” books. In general, they kind of just annoy me. I think this is a testament to how much I just don’t think they work. They’re almost always conglomerates of goofy nonsense and, barring the irritating attempt at simply enticing kids to engage with reading, never teach much.
The Book No One Wants to Read by Beth Bacon, however, is very different.
Pretend you’re reading.
The Book No One Wants to Read is the first of the “you don’t like reading so read this!” books I’ve ever actually liked or considered worthwhile. Now, it still has the irksome the book is talking to the kid theme to it, but where it didn’t work with previous books, it actually works in this one. Instead of just acting goofy, this book is conspiratorial with the reader. Readers find themselves making a deal, appeasing not only the supposed distaste they have for reading but entering into a secret in the process.
Not only that, but the pull here isn’t on actually reading the book. Instead, it’s simply on flipping through the pages. I was honestly amazed. But then, even better, the reader is making a friend in the book. By sneakily getting away with pretending to read, the book gets some time off the shelf and eventually asks if it can consider the reader a friend.
It’s adorable and effective.
But when some kids read, they drag their finger under the sentence.
The book goes on to play some goofy games with the reader, very clearly citing fooling around as their course of action. The book suggests that the best way to deal with the boredom they both have is to play some games. And the games are engaging. But, what I loved most about this book is that it doesn’t just begin and end with the conspiratorial nature and games.
Instead, it takes opportunities to impart lessons. For those who ‘hate’ reading, it can often be a result of struggle. The fact that Bacon includes a piece about how kids point to words while reading struck a cord with me. Most young readers probably won’t notice how impactful this moment is. But, as an educator, this single section meant so much to me.
It’s one thing for a book like this to focus solely on engaging a reluctant reader. But to include subtle tips on how to aid in reading skills is kind of unheard of for me. In this sense alone, The Book No One Wants to Read blew every other book like this out of the water. I don’t know if I’ll ever turn to a different one.
What if…you sit here and turn my pages, and…we just goof off?
Now, the artwork isn’t exceptional or anything. But it is colorful. I think engagement level really depends on who is reading this book. And, admittedly, it is unfortunate to say that there are a number of kids who might not even be able to read all of it. The language is, in my opinion, a little advanced. Even that line that I love so much…sentence? You could have used words, sent the same message, and made it far easier for struggling readers to access.
So, this book isn’t perfect by any means. I don’t really expect it to be. Ultimately, I still think it’s a great starting place.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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