I was reading comments from China Miéville, a science fiction writer, about how he came to find his subject matter. He makes the point that when we’re young we all are into witches, aliens, spaceships. He merely never lost interest.
I’ve been an intermittent fan of speculative fiction, so I’m happy to encourage it with my children. My daughter is reading “New Moon,” a book in the Twilight Saga involving, but not limited to, vampires in the Northwest (yay!). She is intrigued about the details of what makes characters argue and laugh, and is quick with an editorial comment about a character’s shortcomings. Plot analysis is sharpened by wit influenced by Mad Magazine and How It Should Have Ended videos.
My son is enjoying non-fiction with “Sink the Bismark: Germany’s Super Battleship of WWII.” Despite this title, he is not formally bound to reality, enjoying all sorts of space and supernatural adventures in other formats (Star Wars movies, for example). His teacher informs me that seven-year-olds still learning reading skills find true stories easier to understand.
As for me, I don’t read anything on my own, preferring to silently hover behind my kids, sounding an air horn should an objectionable word appear on the page – this usually startles them long enough to give me an opportunity to redact with black ink any unsavory item. What we parents do for the sake of our kids!