Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Back to School Blog Tour with Nicole Lataif (Pauline Books and Media)

Today, I have the pleasure of participating in another blog tour. This one is sponsored by Pauline Books and Media. Children's author Nicole Lataif is posting today, and is going to share a little insight on what she was like as a child reader. Nicole is a talented children's author, and her book Forever You was one of the first children's books I ever formally reviewed. It's great if you haven't checked it out yet. She also has recently written a new book called I Forgive You, which I (thanks to Pauline Books and Media) will be giving away three copies of at the end of this post. So without further ado, here's Nicole! 

True Confessions of a Children’s Book Author: I Once Hated Reading
By: Nicole Lataif

I was in the second grade sitting in my room on a pink beanbag chair…reading.

My father came into my room after thirty minutes.

“How many pages have you read?” he asked me. “Two,” I said.

Thirty minutes after that he came back in. “Now how many pages have you read?” he asked.

 “Just three,” I sighed.

Although I have always loved writing, that was the day that I learned to hate reading. I learned that I wasn’t very good at reading, my pace of reading clearly perplexed adults and that even if I had two full days, I still wouldn’t have finished that boring, enormous book.

For years, “reading” meant so many things to me other than enjoyment. It meant embarrassment, arguments, frustration, and sadness. So, so many things.

Until…

Fast-forward a few years later.

I was in seventh or eighth grade and had just finished reading R.L. Stine’s entire mystery series in a month. A month! I couldn’t read his books fast enough. I read Beach House, Hit and Run, Blind Date…every last one of them. (Reading those book titles still gives me the creeps!) I LOVED mystery stories, which led me to love the show Law and Order, which led me to becoming an adult who is constantly scared that she’s going to get mugged (but, I digress)...

My point: I found out what I loved to read, and only then did I start to love reading.

Kids do need to learn to read about topics that do not interest them. As adults, they will inevitably need to read important material that they don’t find appealing. I’ve been there. However, some little second graders need an advocate. They need the opportunity to grow into a love of reading. Some kids can’t see past their frustration or fear of reading. Those feelings snowball into a kid who abhors the idea of picking up a book.

I wonder what would have happened if someone had asked me:
  • Do you like the book that you are reading?
  • What do you like or dislike about it?
  • Are there parts of the story that you don’t understand or find boring?
  • Do any of the characters remind you of someone you know?
  • Do you want to try reading another book and coming back to this one later?
  • Do you want to put that book down and hop a plane to Disney World right now? (Just kidding!)

I’ve obviously grown up and over my struggles with reading. I write children’s books; (one book even won an award!), for Pauline Books & Media, the publishing house of the Daughters of St. Paul.  I am a reformed reader turned writer and I love helping kids to do the same.

So, I petition you—if your child hates reading, find out why. It may not be that they hate reading, but rather, they haven’t yet found that perfect book.

Nicole Lataif is the Founder and Editor of KidsFaithGarden.com and Author of the 2013 Catholic Press Association Award and 2013 Christopher Award winning book Forever You: A Book About Your Soul and Body, published by Pauline Books & Media. Forever You is also available in Spanish as Siempre Tu. Her second book, I Forgive You: Love We Can Hear, Ask For and Give teaches kids 4-8 what forgiveness is all about. Nicole is available for speaking engagements, school visits, interviews, and guest blogging. Media inquires may be sent to kidsfaithgardenonline@gmail.com

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