Given a choice, this is the problem to have. Still, finding enough reading material to satiate voracious readers is a real challenge.

The Problem with Great Readers Is that We Run Out of Books

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“Mom!” said my 7-year-old, M, when I arrived from work to pick up my kids from daycare, “I checked out three chapter books from the library three hours ago and now I’ve read them all. I have nothing to read!

I checked her backpack to see whether she’d picked out particularly short or easy books, but she had a 90-odd page Bailey School Kids book, a decent length presidential biography and a Katie Kazoo book in there. I asked her to tell me about the books and she regaled me at length with not-quite-summaries of what she’d consumed.

I know. This is a pretty great problem to have. My kids love to read. They’re fast. The challenge it poses, though, is a very real one.

Given a choice, this is the problem to have. Still, finding enough reading material to satiate voracious readers is a real challenge.
This is J. She was the one who happened to have a book in her hands when it occurred to me to take a photo for this post. M was brushing her teeth.

I do what I can to keep my kids supplied with reading materials.

  1. We take regular trips to the public library. Each child is allowed to pick out 7 books. Any more than that, and they lose track of where they are. I reserve a cube of the Ikea Expedit shelves in our living room for library books to keep them in one place.
  2. I haunt bookstores. We visit Half Price Books frequently and keep an eye on their clearance racks both for our home library and their classroom book collection. I invest in books that my girls will want to read again and again.
  3. Their school library is relatively well-stocked, although my daughter J took advantage of a persuasive letter writing assignment at school to ask her principal to invest in harder books.
  4. I donate outgrown books to the girls’ classroom teacher, in part so that she can also snap up more advanced books for her collection when she’s adding to it.
  5. I do a lot of book shopping online. Ebay sometimes pops up pretty fantastic lots of books. I can always donate any duplicates that we have. My girls have tablets, but they just prefer the feel of paper books to reading ebooks on their devices. I limit my Amazon.com shopping to books on specific subjects that I want but can’t find at the library, like foster care or divorce.
  6. Our loved ones know what readers J and M are. They are wonderful about giving them gifts of books.
  7. Paperbackswap.com is a great place to trade in old books for new for just the cost of media mail.

Anyone else have this problem? Any solutions I’ve missed?

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school. She also blogs at Adoption.com and Multicultural Mothering.

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Sadia

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 10-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. They live in the Austin, TX suburbs, where Sadia works full time in information technology. She contributes to a number of parenting websites and magazines and also runs The Mommy Blogging Guide, where she answers mommy bloggers' technical questions.

5 thoughts on “The Problem with Great Readers Is that We Run Out of Books”

  1. I can’t wait for the day my boys are independent readers! For now, we make use of the public library, and I take advantage of the cheap books in the scholastic catalogs. (I could go broke for buying books, and be a happy, homeless person. ) I’m also just starting to work on trading and borrowing from friends with boys just a bit older than us to expand our options.
    I am a huge reader, and I need to start finding books that young boys will like enough to be absorbed in. A daunting task!

  2. Your library may also have e-books that can be checked out through their website and automatically returned via tablet/device. It’s my new favorite way of “visiting” the library! No overdue fees or lost books, huge selection, and it’s FREE! Not the same as physical books, but it is another option.

  3. My girls don’t have this problem (yet?!!!), but I can surely relate! 😉 And I remember that feeling very clearly as a child.

    It’s so interesting — and refreshing! — that your girls love paper books, too. I keep toying with the idea of a Kindle (or something), but I just can’t get past the joy it brings me to browse the bookstore. :)

  4. My kiddos aren’t there yet, but I am COUNTING the days until they are! My parents had the same problem when I was a kid, and I know the library probably saved my college fund.

    You can check out Better World Books online (http://www.betterworldbooks.com). They frequently run huge sales on their bargain bin. And – bonus – for every book you buy, they donate a book.

    Do they have friends who read? Perhaps they can start a “library” amongst their friends where they can trade books?

    1. Oooh, thanks! I also like Daedalus Books’ catalogue. M and J do have readers friends, but none of them read at the same level as them. :(

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