How to get your book-hating kid to read for fun.

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What was the first book you fell in love with?

At the age of nine, the one that had you hiding under your covers with a torch because you couldn’t bear to put it down at bedtime. At 13, the slightly inappropriate book that taught you everything you knew about sex. And at 16, the battered, well-loved tome you read over and over until the spine broke and the final chapter fell out.

There’s something magical in the pages of these books. Whether it’s escaping to join Moon-face and Dame Washalot in a make-believe Enid Blyton world, or learning every single spell in the Harry Potter world so you’re prepared when your acceptance letter to Hogwarts finally arrives by owl. Children’s stories have the ability to change lives, shape young minds, and set our world on fire.

So what happens when your child decides books are for suckers, and they’d rather play a video game?

This week, a legend of children’s literature joined Holly and Andrew on the parenting podcast This Glorious Mess. Morris Gleitzman was just named Australian Children’s Laureate, and shared his advice for parents of book-loathing little ones, who want to teach them the joy of reading.

Listen: Morris Gleitzman shares the secret to raising a bookworm. (Post continues…)

1. Chill out. 

“Try not to project too much anxiety about reading,” the Two Weeks With the Queen author warns.

We all know that the more you push a kid, the less they want to do things. There’s room for reading AND video games, the children’s author says.


2. Offer them a wide variety of books – but accept they won’t love them all. 

“Not every young person is going to love every book they read… Kids should be allowed to read a wide variety of stories, and put aside the ones that don’t appeal to them. Once they find a story or two that really grabs them, they will then have learned the huge rewards that are out there,” Gleitzman says.

Lord of the Rings may not be for them, but keep trying. Maybe a hilarious yarn like Bumface is the ticket. Once they discover their perfect book match, there’s no looking back.

3. Read with them.

According to the Australian Children’s Laureate, reading books together is something your kids are never too old for. Treasure these moments.

“Even if young people are perfectly capable of reading themselves, that makes it an even greater gift that you are prepared to take the time.”

4. Talk to them about it. 

“If they’re reading stories that are doing what really good stories can do, which is to expand their view of the world, give them emotional experiences different to ones they’ve experienced before, they’re going to want to talk about it. And if you can sit down with them and listen to what they have to say about their reading, that is fantastic,” Gleitzman says.

Listen to the full episode of This Glorious Mess here:

To buy Morris Gleitzman’s books, go to

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