The Girl Who Hated Books

The Girl Who Hated Books by Jo Meuris
Because I've reviewed a lot of books recently, I thought I'd let you in on a little secret: my 9-year-old daughter doesn't like to read. In fact, she has always preferred drawing and building things at bedtime to reading a story, even if it means she can stay up later. Needless to say, I have found this disappointing. Even on our weekly trips to the library, she has always run to the educational games section. While she plays, I sigh.

Don't get me wrong. She does well enough in reading and writing at school. Reading just doesn't appeal to her.

Then recently she came home from school to tell me that "everyone" had an iPod Touch and that she wanted one. I immediately thought of my own mother when I came home at age 12 and asked her if she would buy me a leather coat. With her hands on her hips, she threw her head back and laughed. When I asked her again, she said, "Oh, I'd like one of those too," and walked away.

My daughter pleaded with us for a few weeks, but neither my husband nor I had any intention of buying her something for over $200. But of course, "everyone at school had one." In the end, we relented, but she would have to put up half the money, tax included. An iPod Touch had to be earned."Well, where will I get the money?" she asked with her arms crossed and her foot tapping. I would pay her $10 for every (pre-approved) book she read. She was furious. With her hands on her hips, she told me that "no one else had to do that to get an iPod Touch." I then begrudgingly borrowed one of my mother's lines, "Well, you're not everyone." She stomped and stormed around for a few days, but then she was ready to negotiate.

We looked up the exact price and calculated the tax. She needed $115. She had to read 10 books and complete two math drill books for the last $15. Will this cultivate a love of reading? Dunno, but at least she's reading. This weekend she started her seventh book.

When I saw this animated short (7min,21s), The Girl Who Hated Books, I immediately thought of my daughter.

Jo Meuris is a Montreal animator who began her career in the early 80s when she was still a child. Her doodling in class earned her the scorn of teachers, but she nevertheless continued. As the path of an artist was not considered a great career plan, Jo found herself enrolled in Pre-Med at McGill, only to discover it wasn't for her. In 1998, she graduated with a BFA in animation from Concordia where she produced four films. Her first film, Real Men Wear Mustaches, received honourable mention at the Montreal World Film Festival's student competition. Her work has been seen at festivals around the world. If you like the Girl Who Hated Books, you might also like An Aqueous Solution.

Reviews of books for kids and teens:

Robert Munsch at Play Act Two
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Books for Preschoolers
More Girl Spies Please
50 Poisonous Questions by Tanya Lloyd Kyi
The Trouble with Marlene by Billie Livingston
The Orphan Rescue by Anne Dublin
Dead Time by Christy Ann Conlin


Anonymous | April 13, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Hilarious Heather, what a great post. I sympathize with you!

Heather | April 13, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Since I posted this, a lot of people have said that their children don't like reading either. I think it's more common than we think. Thanks for your comment Leila.

Anonymous | May 15, 2012 at 6:59 PM

I'm currently a teen, and I can say when I was younger I hated books too! I did great in language and read what I was forced to read in class but I never chose to read in my spare time. It took an amazing highschool english teacher before I began to enjoy reading again! I have since picked up a few books, which would have never happened a year or two ago! There is still hope for your daughter!

Heather | May 15, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Thanks teen reader. You have given me hope. I'm sending positive vibes out there for a great lit teacher for my daughter in high school. All the best. Heather

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