Making Reading Cool Among Our Circles of Influence

By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

When I was a kid, I didn't collect too many things. I remember for a while trying to collect tiny ceramic cats. I know, surprise, surprise. Apparently once a cat lover, always a cat lover. (I confess to currently having 4 cats!) At one point, I also tried having a stamp collection. But neither the ceramic cats nor the stamp phase lasted.

Of course I also collected books. When I was in elementary school, one of my favorite trips of the year was when my family would go to the bookstore, and my parents would buy me a book or two–even when finances were tight. It was always such a special day, visiting the bookstore, eating out, and going to the candy shop afterward.

As a result, over the years, I developed a decent collection of books.

When I finally had my own home, my mom politely asked me to take my boxes of books with me. And to this day, some of those books still sit on my shelves–books like The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, Ballet Shoes, Little House on the Prairie, and the whole Anne of Greene Gables series.

Yes, reading was definitely cool in my family. Not only did my parents make book-buying special, my mom loved to read aloud to my brothers and me, and she was an avid reader herself (and still is!). Her attitude by and large set the tone for reading being a fun and enjoyable activity.

The current climate toward reading in our culture is in limbo. Even though statistics seem to show that people are still buying books and reading, the competition for the time and attention of readers is being devoured by media.

With the growth of social media, along with the explosion of video games, movies, and television, our culture could end up being lured away from the printed word and drawn increasingly further into the world of media entertainment. (I cited the statistic in a blog post last week that  Americans over the age of two now spend an average of 32 hours a week watching television.)

However, I try not to lose hope when I think about all the things competing for the attention of readers. Instead, I remind myself that I can be like my mom. I can have an attitude about reading that sets the tone for my family, friends, and followers. I can get excited about books and reading and pass on my love of the written word to people in my spheres of influence.

In fact, that's one of my goals with Pinterest. I have boards that promote reading: I Love Reading, Reading Humor, Bookshelf Fantasies, Fascinating Book Art, Stuff for a Book Geek, and more. I also try to share cool reading and book pictures on my Author Facebook Page.

Ultimately, through all my social media sites, I want to share my love of books and have the attitude that reading is cool.

Think about the reading revolution we could start if ALL of us who love books began to promote reading to all our friends, family, and followers! We have the capability to make a difference, to pass on the love of reading to others, and to ensure that our culture is not lured away from books.

We who love books can lead the charge in making reading cool for this current generation.

Was reading COOL for you when you were growing up? Have you thought about ways you can help promote a love of books and reading to your circles of influence?


  1. My mom did her best to get me to love reading by reading to me when I was young, taking us to the library weekly, enrolling me in a book club where I received a new book once a month and always reading herself. I still have most of my childhood books and am having a difficult time parting with them. (I gave a couple as gifts to my nephews.) It took some time, but after I got married and my husband loved reading so much, I too became a bookworm.

    I really like you reading revolution image! I often recommend books to my friends and have recently joined to share the books I've read with others. Before releasing them into the wild, I first offer them to my Facebook friends.

  2. My mom read to us as children and I also remember reading myself at a young age. Then there were programs like "Book It" where if you read a certain number of pages you got a little personal pizza from Pizza Hut. These types of programs are great to influence kids but I think the greatest influence are the parents. If the parents read the kids will probably want to read as well.

    Last year I ran into one of my friends at the local public library. She was there with her two kids and they were getting their own personal library cards for the first time. I was so excited for them (probably more excited than they were)! I love to see kids enjoying books because they are such an enjoyment to me!

  3. Jody,I was an avid reader(still am) when I was a youngster!

    My parents used to read to us every night,until we were old enough to read to them! I'm SURE both Mum and Dad loved our choice of bedtime stories!LOL!

    My Dad had a magnificent library of books and we were encouraged to use it. He had all the wonderful classics on his book shelves and it's no wonder that I love historical books today.:)

    I have to admit that as a grandmother to my 11 grandchildren, that they do spend an enormous amount of time either on the computer or watching TV..this is in my opinion of course, which is vastly different from those of my older "grand k's"!LOL. Despite that,the littlest ones still love me reading to them, even though they are now able to read,for themselves. We have "snuggle" time,while reading is in progress and it is something that I cherish. There is nothing quite like the love from an innocent child with rounding eyes as big as saucers,as they listen to the stories being read! Such trusting eyes! That will change soon enough,as big brother is teaching little brother the "true facts,"if you catch my drift:0)

    For all the electronic games,TV,computers and i phones,my grandchildren,always made straight for the activity books, which kept them occupied for quite sometime. We also used to play word games and it was with much hilarity on their part, when poor old NANNY LOST again!* sigh*
    They were thrilled when they( all 11 of them) were each allowed to choose their selection of books from " Great Puppa's" library, especially as some are now collectors items.

    Wonderful post Jody..encouragement to read is sooo therapeutic too, especially in times of stress!

    Blessings to you sweet lady, as you continue to write those books which gives us the enjoyment while reading!

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  5. A great post Jody. We lived on a farm, a distance away from libraries and book stores but I read every chance I got, often ignoring my farm chores to read. The occasional trip to the city included a visit to the library where I would stock up. As a young, busy, working mother, I always took the time to read to my two children every night before bed and as they got older read with them. Now I am a grandmother and bring a book or two along every time I visit my four grandchildren in another province. I am known as the "book grandma". The love of reading is still strong in our family.

  6. Hi Jody! As you know, I LOVE your posts. Always so thought provoking and timely. I think that promoting the love of reading is essential, especially in a world where technology is so mainstream. I love the my children, though still too young to read words will sit and look at books forever. We read together, and at night I will read to them as they lay in bed-Mary Poppins, Rufus M., Little House books, etc. Its so much fun.
    Thank you again--you are fabulous! Can't wait to have you on my blog on Monday!

  7. As an English teacher, sometimes it's a struggle to get my students to enjoy reading; I try to pick out books that they would like, but I think it's partly because they have to read them (rather than that they can just read them for fun) that makes them resistant to it. I've always loved books, though; I still have my copy of The Secret Garden too, as well as a couple other books from childhood that I read and reread, like Matilda by Roald Dahl (I loved Matilda because she loved books too).

  8. Hi Everyone!

    I'm enjoying hearing about your reading experiences from your childhoods and within your circles of influence now! Thank you all for sharing!



  9. I love your attitude about passing a love for books on. Whether or not we realize it, we set a lot of examples by taking this seriously, like reading. I know my husband reads more because I read so much.

    This is a beautiful blog! I stumbled on it from twitter and I'm so glad I did. I almost bought all your books just because I liked their covers so much! I can't wait to hear more from you!

  10. I love the idea of passing our love of books onward. As a child, I can't remember anyone reading to me, but as a printer/publisher, my father somehow managed to instill a love of printed matter in me. And today I guess you'd say I'm a bookaholic. Tonight I've started my own Pinterest board, For the love of books, and hope to draw more interest in reading. Thanks for your sharing your mission!

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