Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books discussing a bookish topic each Friday. I know that this post is almost a week late, but this week’s topic is super interesting, and I suggested it, so I have a lot of opinions on this, so without further ado; Should readers read books that aren’t for their target age?
My short answer: YES! Don’t just stick to books that are for your age group. Personally, I read lots of books that some people would say are definitely not targeted for my age group. I’m 13, but I still enjoy reading books that were my favorites when I was a lot younger. Pippi Longstocking, for example will never get old. That series, by Astrid Lindgren, is hilarious, and I’ve reread it so many times!
I’ve also read books that are most likely aimed at much higher age groups. This happens way less now, but there were times when I was younger when I read books that were definitely not for my target age. There is some stuff that I learned, mostly historical content, because I love historical fiction, that was shocking that I didn’t necessarily know, well, existed.
One of the most drastic examples of this is my first experience reading The War that Saved my Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. I got this book from the library when I was 8 or 9, and while it is now one of my favorite books, it took a while to process it. The story is about a girl named Ada, who was born with a clubfoot, and is treated very harshly by her mother who is ashamed of her because of her disability. The book is set during the second world war, a short time before the battle of Britain, where London was bombed 57 nights in a row. Ada is kept locked up in their London flat, and is very harshly abused and mistreated. She escapes that when her brother is sent to the countryside because of bombings, and she runs away with him. They end up living with a woman named Susan Smith who cares for Ada and Jamie, and is very kind to them.
When I first read this book, it was the first time that I’d really been exposed to what the harshness of child abuse can look like, but I don’t see that as a bad thing. Reading has taught me about countless things, and I know that I would not have been exposed to or learned about many things I now know if I hadn’t read books for all different ages.
That said, there are good things about reading for your age level. It can be a good way to find books you’ll enjoy, but you should never feel pressured to read books for your age group.
What do you think? Do you think that readers should read books for their target age, or that they should read whatever they want? Have you had experiences with books like I did with The War that Saved my Life?
Chat with me in the comments below!