So said Dr. Spock, and though he was addressing child-rearing in general, the point applies to the niche of raising readers. I picked up the ARC of A Family of Readers: The Book Lover's Guide to Children's and Young Adult Literature, by Horn Book Magazine editors Roger Sutton and Martha Parravano, at BEA, and noticed this theme throughout. Telling kids what they should read and when they should read it is a great way for adults to help kids hate reading. Though it wouldn't be fair for a Horn Book Guide reviewer's blog to review this book, I think it's safe to give that point a "hear, hear!" Even if an adult's recommendation would be perfect for the young reader in question, turning that recommendation into a demand won't do anyone any favors. Suggestions can be great when they're posed as just suggestions, but there's something special about a book the reader finds and chooses for him- or herself.
I might even take it one step further and suggest that kids, like adults, can really benefit from reading books their peers aren't reading. Don't get me wrong; everyone should also have the chance to be part of a community of readers, as it were. But just as the experience of selecting one's own books is special, it's special to feel like you're the only one who's read them, the only one who knows what's in them. It's wonderful to feel that a character you've chosen to read about has chosen you as his or her only best friend.
What do you think?