"When Tommy and Annika and their father reached the gate they heard [Pippi] calling. They stopped to listen. The wind whistled through the trees so that they could just barely hear what she said.
"I'm going to be a pirate when I grow up," she cried. "Are you?"
Confession - I had never read Pippi Longstocking until this year. Its one of those essential books of youth that skipped me by (see also: Perks of Being a Wallflower). I had never even really had a desire to read it but we were on the hunt for a chapter book to use for a reading program at my job and one of our tutors suggested it.
I will never truly understand people who don't find immense joy and satisfaction in reading a book. I know these people are out there, and I totally understand that they are just as smart and successful as the rest of us, but I will never quite understand how their brains work.
Its been the most frustrating as I watch these kids, most of whom are all under the age of twelve, fight tooth and nail against reading. I don't know how it gets such a bad rap. If there was a way to make books cool to these kids - I would pay whatever the price to bring it to them because they need it. These kids need books, they need ways to escape their life every now and then. All kids do.
This paragraph (the last in the book) spoke to me - about why we need books so badly. Why kids especially need books. Because kids should get the opportunity to consider if they're going to be pirates when they grow up or not. And if they decide that a life of pirating is not, in fact, for them - then that's cool - at least they've given it some thought.
Anyway - if you have any other ideas of fairly easy chapter books that you think could engage kids ages 6-12, please let me know.