Reading Children’s Books Brought Back My Passion for Reading

I’ve been a reader since the day I read my first book Green Eggs and Ham. There was no stopping me with my LeapFrog and Scooby-Doo mysteries. Then it was the Junie B. Jones series and so on.

By high school, I was reading a mix of young adult and adult fiction. I read books on top of my school-assigned reading list. I spent way too much money in Borders (RIP) and Barnes and Noble. I fangirled over Jodi Picoult when I traveled to Chicago from Kansas City to hear her read an excerpt from her latest novel Lone Wolf.

My reading time dwindled in college as I juggled my course load, but I made up for it over school breaks. When I became depressed during my junior year, reading anything seemed insurmountable.

I can count the number of books I’ve read in three years with my hands. Some of those were for school or work. It’s not that I haven’t tried. I’ve picked up books only to drop them halfway through.

It wasn’t until now that I’ve broken this pattern. A part of my income is working as a nanny and tutor for two fourth graders. Earlier in the school year, they began reading Because of Winn-Dixie. I remembered reading it at their age and falling in love with that scruffy dog.

As the kids have started reading books of their choice for a project, I decided I’d read the books as well, so they could discuss the storyline with me.

I laughed as a read Ben Franklin’s in My Bathroom. I finished it in a day, and while it was an easy read, I felt just as accomplished for finally finishing a book. A silly book about a time machine bringing Ben Franklin to present-day ignited a passion I hadn’t felt in ages.

Then, it was time to read the other fourth grader’s book, Annie’s Life in Lists. I became intrigued as to the real reason Annie’s family moved from Brooklyn to a tiny town. I related to both awkward 10-year-old Annie and to her parents, worrying about money and life.

The other night I perused my neglected books in my apartment. As much as I had stopped reading, I still bought books. Old habits die hard.

I settled on the adult fiction book Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown. Months earlier I had read the first few chapters but lost the motivation to keep going. Now I’m passed where I had stopped, and I have no intention of putting this one down. I don’t understand how I could’ve stopped reading such a compelling mystery of the disappearance of Olive’s mom.

Reading is a skill I neglected for so long. I needed to start small to get back to my previous momentum.Also, children’s books are pretty good, so I can’t wait to read my next one.

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