Book-shaming (v): To openly judge another reader’s book preferences
I, Dana Murphy, do solemnly swear to not book-shame my daughters. I will uphold my unwavering belief in reading before bed, no matter which books they choose. I will not secretly throw away all the Sponge Bob and Dora books when they are not looking. I promise to not influence their decisions as readers by yawning, sighing, or rolling my eyes. I will fulfill my parental responsibility of fostering their love of reading.
When Maddie was around the age of two years old, I made a promise to myself that I would not book-shame her as a reader. Lately, it has been really hard to keep that promise.
Maddie’s bookshelf overflows with books. Each night before bed, she flips through the collection, choosing two or three books for us to read together. Each night, I sit in silence, curiously watching to see which books she will choose.
How, I wonder, could a child’s hand skip over A Sick Day for Amos McGee and Beekle and Where a Sidewalk Ends, only to land on the princess puzzles book again? Why, I wonder, would a well-read child not want to laugh with Babymouse or dig another hole with Sam and Dave? Why, oh why, would this child choose to read about Patrick and crabby patties? WHY? What is happening to my daughter?
I don’t ask these questions aloud. I stifle a yawn. I let Maddie curl up in my lap, and I open to page one of the
stupid princess puzzles book for the third night in a row. For a second, I contemplate crawling into her darkened room late at night to steal the princess puzzle book. I imagine myself standing in the garage, tearing that dumb book into shreds, laughing maniacally at my victory.
Then I remember my vow. I will not book-shame my daughters. So, I read. And Maddie, page by page, falls more in love with reading.