Childrearing

Why I Told Off The Woman Who Shamed My Pre-Schooler’s Book Selection

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child bookstoreI know this might come as a shock to those of you who only know me online, but I’m a pretty big wuss when it comes to face-to-face confrontation. Honestly, I just don’t like it at all. All the raised voices and anger, the business of arguing with people stresses me out. At least with the internet, I can shut down my computer and ignore you all if it gets too hurtful. But this week at Barnes & Noble, I put aside my distaste for public displays of anger and completely shut down a woman who dared to shame my daughter’s book selection. I know it seems like an odd thing to get worked up about, but hear me out.

Books are a big deal in our house. My husband and I both love to read. Each member of the family, including my daughter, has their own bookcase. I have two. We own more books than I care to count (or think about the cost of), but I love our little collection.

From a young age, I’ve had a pretty simple system with my daughter. When it comes to reading, we always do so in increments of two. She picks a book to read and then mom picks a book to read. Since we’re reading together, it just makes sense that each of us gets a chance to choose. But there’s more to my approach than that.

I don’t want to tell my daughter what she is supposed to be interested in. I don’t want to get snooty with the selection and only let her look through books that I think provide the best exposure to literature. Yes, the classics are great, but they aren’t the only options out there. It’s just as important for my daughter to explore what she’s interested in as it is for her to get to know the staples of children’s literature. So she picks any book she wants, whether it’s based on a Disney character or includes potty humor, then I pick a book that I think she’ll enjoy. The way it works out, she picks a lot of books about dinosaurs and I still get to read her plenty of Maurice Sendak.

You have to know that this is our set-up to understand why I was so frustrated with an overzealous Barnes & Noble employee who felt like my daughter shouldn’t waste her time with a book about Power Rangers.

Just like our reading set-up, we buy books in increments of two. Mom’s choice and Brenna’s choice both get added to the library. We probably buy a set of books every couple of weeks, so we’re both pretty familiar with what we like and what we’re looking for. Last week, I decided to grab Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan and my daughter picked out Power Rangers Super Samurai #1.

As Brenna was picking exactly which Power Rangers book to get, a well-meaning woman walked up and asked if she needed any help. Feeling like a pro, my daughter quickly responded, “No thank you, I’m getting Power Rangers.” One would assume that the conversation would end there.

(Photo: Losevsky Photo and Video/Shutterstock)

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