I was remarking today about how I have spent a fair bit of time defending Jacqueline Wilson in the past year or so. I completely share the concerns of some that some of the issues she writes about are a little edgy, and I am not always thrilled about the uncomfortable questions that some of the books inspire A to ask. However, last year, A didn't read for pleasure at all. Now, thanks to JW opening up the possibility that books can actually be interesting, she reads quite a lot. This has had a marked impact on her reading skills, ability to read around subjects and general level of interest in the world around her.
However, I have been looking around for something else for A to read, so that she is not subjected to relentless troubled family situations and friendship dilemmas. And I stumbled upon A Series of Unfortunate Events. This was a bit of a shot out of left-field, as I was not sure if A would find them a bit scary. However, she loves them, and is currently reading Book the Third. There are thirteen in total, which should keep her going whilst I try to rustle up another entertaining set of books which aren't written by Ms Wilson.
Ironically, Lemony Snicket (as he is known) tells the tale of the most troubled family you could possibly imagine. The Baudelaire children are desperately unfortunate (hence the name), and have an evil uncle who seeks to kill them in all sorts of horrible ways. However, they are clearly fantasy, and make a refreshing change from the pre-teen kitchen-sink drama which was A's sole reading diet for a fair while. JW, much as I love her, reminds me very much of Mike Leigh for kids, only with less films, and slightly more misery. Lemony Snicket is more of the old school. Also there is plenty of ridiculously challenging vocabulary in there, for the educator in me.