by the Whirlwind this weekend was depressing. She gave it to me with the words "....(her teacher) said to talk to you. We have to read four - for next year."
There are twenty fiction titles listed and the girls (the Whirlwind goes to a single sex school) are expected to read four of them over the summer. There will apparently be follow up work at school next year. Vampires, war, refugees and mental illness feature heavily as subject matter in the list. They are obviously considered to be "popular" titles. There has also been an attempt to appeal to boys. I also know that, for the Whirlwind, four will be insufficient. She will feel she should read all of them. I groan inwardly.
"Oh and I forgot to give you this," the Whirlwind says and produces another note from the teacher.
I know the teacher. She is well aware I am not the Whirlwind's mother but also knows that I provide homework assistance, reading matter and female advice when requested.
"...may have read... rest not likely to appeal... suggest..."
Right. Her teacher knows her well and is suggesting an alternative. I read the list again.
"All right you have read three of them and you might like those two. We can probably get them at the library. You don't need to read the others unless you want to."
"But everyone else will..."
"I doubt it. Most people will only read four. Mrs.... has made a suggestion for a special project just for you and a couple of other people who really like to read. Go and look on the computer and find Carnegie Medal." I tell her how to spell it.
A few minutes later she has found a list of Carnegie Medal winners.
"Oh, I have read lots of these."
I tell her to look up the Australian Children's Book of the Year and Newbery (American) equivalents as well. There are more in those lists she has read and more I know she will enjoy reading.
"Well let's see if you can read twenty more of them by the end of the holidays. You will like most of them."
The challenge clearly appeals to her and I am happy to help.
On the way out the door though she turned around and said to me,
"Why don't they tell us to read more of those books?"