What do you do when you have a child who has learned to read early and who has gone beyond the “Look at Timmy. See Timmy. See Timmy run.” books? Josh loves Star Wars and would devour any material related to Star Wars. I am okay with that, even though I find the material a tad violent. Josh assures me that “It’s all just pretend, Mommy!” My problem with the Star Wars books is that they are meant for older readers, readers with more understanding and with more life experiences from which they could draw to be able to put what they read in context.
One time, Josh asked me what an assassin was. I told him. He then followed up by asking if there are assassins in Hong Kong. Umm, I don’t want to be talking about assassins with my 5-year old.
At a recent parent-teacher conference, his teacher suggested Aussie Nibbles and Aussie Bites. She voiced out exactly what I was concerned about –i.e., that there’s a dearth of materials that are age-appropriate and suitable for very young proficient readers out there. She then recommended Aussie Nibbles and Aussie Bites.
The series of short chapter books are written by different Australian authors. Aussie Nibbles books are for readers just beginning and Aussie Bites cater to the 7-10 age group. The books have “bites” on them –a smaller bite for Nibbles and a slightly bigger bite for Bites. And then you progress on to Chomps for more advanced readers. There is larger print on the Nibbles and the print gets smaller on the Bites.
The Aussie Nibbles were quick reads for Josh. He really loves them and could finish two in one afternoon (yes, reading through dinner!). Once he starts on one, he’s deaf to the world. The house could be on fire
and he wouldn’t even notice.
I plan to get Josh to read as many of the Aussie Nibbles as I could get from the library before introducing Aussie Bites to him.
As far as I could tell, the books are not available in the local bookstores, but I was able to borrow quite a number of them from the public library. The Hong Kong Central Library (in Causeway Bay) has a very good collection. If you want to order online, you’d find a better collection through Puffin Books Australia.
Image: Stephen Michael King, Illustrator.