The age of a book’s audience is a key concept for authors. Books are categorised and displayed by reader age. So writing books that crossover into other age groups is not generally considered a good idea.
Rebel that I am, I ignore this unwritten rule. And for a good reason. I believe the best stories are the ones we can share.
When children are little, adults read books to them. Bedtime stories are a lovely ritual. Once a child reaches school age, the tables are turned. There is an expectation for an adult to listen to the child read. This can sometimes feel more like a chore than a shared experience. And once younger readers become confident readers, sharing books often comes to an end.
Book clubs are popular with avid readers because we like to talk about our shared experience of reading. But why stop there? Family members of all ages can read together. They just need the right books.
Ways to share books
What’s great about reader age ranges is that you can browse in more than one of them. Or all of them, if you want. Books written for adults are often not suitable for younger readers, although they can still be shared with other adults. Lending a book you enjoyed to an older person who lives alone can help them feel closer to you.
Many older children’s books are suitable for teenagers and adults too. And young adult books are popular with a very wide audience.
Reading together can be done in different ways. From reading the same book separately, and talking about it afterwards. To reading aloud, alternating the person doing the reading each chapter. You can find more ways to help a friend or family member discover their love of reading in my post, The Old Curiosity Spark.
Of course, just being in the same place at the same time, reading different books, can work too. But I think the best way to help someone develop their love of reading, is to share what you love to read.
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