What Kids Read
I wasn’t expecting a revelation, about what kids read, on a fast-bus.
Imagine, my first trip from Glasgow to Ayr on the X77 express. Truth to tell, it was a pretty hot ticket that day, if not for the right reasons – the driver apologised because he couldn’t switch the heater off on a sweltering day… but that’s another story.
I chose a corner seat by the window. Moments later an older woman and a teenager took the seat opposite. Before long the large double-decker cantered along the motorway from Glasgow to the Ayrshire coast.
Opposite me, the conversation became so animated I had to look up. The youngster grunted as she struggled with something under the table and, at last, dragged out a large shopping bag. Talking with her gran, she laid the sack in front of me. She peered over the top, winked and plunged her hand into the contents. With, attention only for her granny, she smiled as she plucked out a book.
Her animation and excitement amazed me. She kept her eyes on her gran with loving, childlike authenticity. ‘Yesssss…’ In triumph, she held a somewhat battered book by its spine and shook the cover at her companion. Next, she slapped the cover with her other lightly tattooed hand, smiling, triumphant. Because of the angle, I couldn’t see the cover. However, across the table, her gran grinned and chuckled, nodding approval with a gapped-tooth smile. The lassie put her book back.
I had to know what kids read
Surprised by the event, and curiosity aroused, I had to ask. ‘I hope you don’t mind me asking… what’s the book?’ A thoughtful, intelligent gaze assessed me from clear gold flecked brown eyes. She wrinkled her straight nose, the sleeper through the flesh above the bridge rising. Next she smiled a sweet smile before her face took a more mischievous look. The stud in her lower lip rose with a cheeky grin.
Once more her hand fumbled inside the big bag and she pulled out the book. With a theatrical gesture, she held the rear towards me in both hands and placed her beaming countenance beside it.
What was it?
Pause for a second, what would you expect to see? Me? I thought Young Adult, Vampires, Werewolves. But no, none of those. She did a dramatic show… eyes wide and smiling locked to mine. ‘Ta-daa’ giggled out of her. She twirled the book cover towards me. Terry Pratchett.
We talked about her reading, her love of books. She found the fun of the Disc World series a delight. Gran approved. Next we talked about Philip Pullman as a possible author of interest. The lassie wrote down the name.
She travelled from the South-West of England since 5:30 that morning, reading Terry Pratchett all the way. Tired (by now it was 7 pm) she was ‘glad to be home’. We talked about books for a wee while longer and then returned to our own worlds, with occasional hi there nods when we looked up.
Life goes on
I’d like to tell the lass how she changed a reader stereotype forever (and perhaps a couple of others too). It’s like talking to your own younger folk.
What a nice, articulate and interesting young bookworm. Not at all what I thought … more fool me. I hope we meet again one day.