Were you an Adventure Kid when you got hooked on reading?
Thought for the day: Were you, like me, an “adventure kid” when you first got hooked on reading? Hold that thought for a minute while I explain.
It wasn’t till I was about ten years old that I really got hooked on reading – and by hooked, I mean avidly addicted!
And what did it? Books about people, but especially kids, having amazing, wonderful and exciting adventures! (Like these…)
It was only then that I discovered that reading wasn’t a chore after all, but a kind of magical doorway to a wonderful world of excitement, danger, mystery, and fun! Suddenly I found myself compulsively reading adventure stories every opportunity that came my way!
From that moment on my life changed for ever! At school I always had a book on my knee. I kept it tucked under the desk so it was hidden from the teacher’s roving eye! I found I could pretend I was engrossed in the math and written exercises the teacher had on the blackboard while secretly I was miles away and indulging in great leaps of imagination.
The only times I got into trouble was when the book I was reading happened to spring some kind of a joke on me! I was a real sucker for jokes and silly ideas! I’d burst out giggling and suddenly find the whole class looking at me – and also the teacher!
For punishment, I’d have to stay inside during break while all the other kids were playing outside. Punishment? It was wonderful! More time for pushing on with the exciting vicarious adventure I was in the middle of!
At home, I read while I was eating breakfast, or lunch, or dinner! I guess my family found me a bit of an alien! I’d have my book on the table beside me and somehow my fork or spoon seemed to be able to find my mouth all by itself, while my eyeballs were locked on the words and my brain was dreaming of wild events and crazy people and adventures I was hoping I was going to have one day.
I read at night, too. I’d say goodnight to the rest of my family then curl up with my latest book. Of course Mom or Dad would come by and turn out my light. That was no problem, though. I had this flashlight that they didn’t know I’d bought with my own pocket money. I would snuggle down under my bedclothes, turn it on, and go right on reading!
Most days I read a book a day!
Sometimes I read two books at the same time! Sometimes even more!
From adventure stories, I began to branch out and try other things. Besides exciting stories, I now found I also liked funny stories, and scary stories, and mysteries, and nonfiction, and then poetry. Yes, I loved poetry, though I sort of kept quiet about it back then. I went to a country school and country school kids weren’t big on poetry!
But most of all, I loved adventure stories, stories that let me pretend I was having the adventure, too. I think adventure stories made everything seem possible – and that’s very important if you’re a kid growing up in a world dominated by bossy and boring adults!
Years and years later (like recently) I discovered another New Zealander who loved reading adventure stories as a kid. This was – Surprise! Surprise! – Edmund Hillary.
In case you don’t know who Edmund Hillary was, he happened to be the first person (with Tensing Norgay) to climb to the summit of Mount Everest. And he followed this great adventure with a string of other exciting challenges, like dashing to the South Pole (only the third expedition to get there!), and then an expedition to the North Pole (the first person to visit both Poles!), and then leading an expedition to see if the “Yeti” or “abominable snowman” really existed.
As a kid, to get to his high school, Hillary had to sit in a boring old train every day for two hours each way. So what did he do? He read adventure stories that he borrowed from his school library. He read adventure stories at home at night in bed, too. He’d sneak the light on when the rest of the family had gone to bed and read for hours. (I found out about Hillary’s love of adventure stories when I was writing a kids biography about him.)
Yes, Edmund Hillary, the great real-life adventurer, was a day-dreamy adventure kid, too!
And what am I doing now? Yes, still reading adventure stories and loving them. But also writing them – dreaming up adventure stories to share with kids. I guess I’m still an ‘adventure kid’!
What about you? Were you an ‘Adventure Kid’?
Maybe you still are? I hope so! Anything can be an adventure! Writing! Teaching! Parenting! Getting kids hooked on reading! And just being alive, don’t you think?
We’d love to hear about your adventure kid experiences!
And you can find out more about Edmund Hillary here.
You can read all Alan’s blog posts on his web page here…