Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Question for you

When I was growing up I LOVED reading the Nancy Drew series. I loved them so much that I hardly read anything else outside of a "mystery" genre.

I hit a treasure trove of Nancy Drew books when our local library decided to clean their shelves and sold their set for $0.05 a book! (Those were the days, eh?) It was the 1950's edition and I loved every single one. I thought I'd keep it for my children to read and enjoy.

However, I'm rethinking this. I spent so much time reading Nancy Drew that I read relatively little else. It's only now that I'm going back and reading the classics. So I'm debating whether or not to sell my Nancy Drew books so that my kids can just avoid the temptation all together.

I do recognize that it's important to give kids books that they will love and enjoy. "Anything to promote reading." Is that a good argument though? I don't know. It certainly has its downfalls. I do think its important to capture children's imaginations so that they will WANT to read. Nancy Drew does help do that. Also, I'm rather glad to be reading certain "classics" now because I will remember them much better and I enjoy them for different reasons.

At the same time, Nancy Drew doesn't really foster variety. (I read a great deal more than just Nancy Drew but still -- it's a long series and I read every one!)

What do you think? Would you keep your set or get rid of it? Would you save a few and discard the rest? Do you think it's a good idea for kids to be locked into such a long series with little to no merit? Or are you such a huge Nancy Drew fan that you'd pawn the series off on whoever you thought would read it and encourage them to spend all their reading time on it?

Curious for your thoughts!


Anonymous said...

Well here's my thoughts on my almost complete set of the Bobbsey Twins and the Happy Hollisters (sorry I wasn't a Nancy Drew person - I think by the time I was the right age for Nancy I'd moved on to reading mostly Janette Oke and other Christian prairie novel writers - which sounds odd, but when your mother won't let you read the Babysitters Club until you're the same age as them (at which point everyone else is over them) you end up with odd tastes as a child...)

Anyway - if my (future) kids end up anything like me - I am going to NEED all the books I have... because they will read anything with print on it... I read a lot of classics growing up, but still read the complete Bobbsey Twins series (I think I finished the whole series by about the end of 2nd grade or so...) I do remember it was third grade when my mother gave me the Janette Oke Love Comes Softly series to read, because it was oddly enough more age appropriate in many ways, than some of the other options (the Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley Twins, etc)... I still read classic novels occasionally too, but when you read fast, and read a lot - you've got to have something else to fill the time (I would go to the library on a Saturday afternoon - come home with 10 books and they'd all be read by Sunday evening....)

Now if my (future) kids are NOT like me, and don't read nearly that much, then I will probably not let them have ahold of the complete set, lol... But I'm still holding on to them for my own memories if nothing else =)

Jeane said...

If you're never going to read them again yourself, I would hold onto them at least until you kids are old enough to try several. Then if they like them you can present the whole set, if not, sell it or something. I saved a mass of my favorite picture books and now that my three year old is going through them, am finally giving away some of the ones she doesn't really want. But I'm glad I kept them to give her the chance.

Erin said...

Let them read them!

When I was little, my mom introduced me to the Bobbsey Twin books and I also read the Boxcar Children books, although not quite as obsessively as the former. Sure, they're formulaic and not top-notch writing. But they got me reading - I zipped through those books at an amazing speed. I think having a series I could just continually gobble up actually made me a better (and faster!) reader.

Kids don't just need to read brilliant books. I think reading constantly (and long series like these will keep them doing that) will grow them as readers. Obviously you'll want to hand them other books, too, but it's ok if they get hooked on Nancy Drew.

Now I'm still an avid reader (I'm 17 now) and I read a wide variety of genres and series and classics and new books. The Bobbsey Twins didn't harm me at all - in fact, I think they helped me.

Sheila said...

I would love to get Nancy Drew books for that price! I'd have to store them in the garage, though. :) I have boys so I doubt they would be interested in ND.

I understand where you are coming from. I read a lot of stuff as a child and teenager that I regret. I wish I had more guidance in finding GOOD books to read.

scb said...

I read a lot of Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew (and Cherry Ames, and The Tuckers, and Donna Parker) when I was a kid. I read and read and read. I think they're great to get kids reading. I read other things, too, but those books I came back to over and over again. (I read and re-read the Anne of Green Gables books and Louisa May Alcott books, as well.)

In sixth grade, when we were studying the United States in Social Studies (I'm a Canadian), I was able to answer a lot of the questions the teacher asked about Washington D.C. because I'd read the Bobbsey Twins in Washington so often. So see? They're even educational! ;)

I like Jeanne's idea of seeing if they like them by trying them on a few first. If they're as voracious readers as I was as a kid, Nancy Drew won't be all they read, but it will be fun for them.

Anonymous said...

The Nancy Drew books are the only ones I saved from my reading childhood. I have most of the set in my daughter's room. She hasn't expressed interest in them, yet. She has read her way through most of the American Girl books and also read the entire Junie B. Jones series. I don't really care what she reads as long as she reads. I think one of the best summers I ever spent was the one where I read the entire Nancy Drew series. Most of it while lounging on the grass in the backyard. I can only hope the Nancy Drew, or some other set of books, give my daughter the same pleasure.

B said...

No, no, no, no, no! Don't get rid of them. The Nancy Drew books are some of the best books available today for young women who need a spunky role model. Nancy's decent and has great manners; she's confident without having a feminist axe to grind. There are so few books like this for Christian girls to read (even though they're not distinctly "Christian") that you should keep them at least to see if you have a daughter or two that might enjoy them. My sister was never in love with the books, but I read them again and again--and reading Nancy Drew never kept me from reading other books as well.

On that note, I also think it's important to have a balance of reading. You can't read only "great classical literature" all of the time. A few easy read mysteries are great to have around. I basically graduated from Nancy Drew into Agatha Christie and Ellis Peters. When I need a break from difficult reading, I almost always reach for those. Hang on to Nancy Drew, at least for a little while longer; those books are worth owning.

return home gnome said...

Some excellent points: I think I'm feeling a consensus of, no, don't get rid of them. That was a great price, and they have "updated" (read, changed for the worse) the more recent ones so hold on to the older published copies.

My personal experience was that, even though I may have gone through phases, I grew out of them. I also read anything anyone handed me, the good, the bad, and the ugly! I wouldn't deprive my kids of something good just because it wasn't excellent, or because they may like the good thing too much and take a while to move on. Truth is, for young women in their pre and early teens, there is a TON of Christian JUNK out there (Christy Miller Series anyone?).

What if you had been given Agitha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, do you think you would have moved on from Nancy Drew?

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