Big Nate books · choice · parenting

Big Nate

I would have never predicted I’d be writing this post today.

But, I’m concerned.  
No.  I’m worried.

But, before I go any further, a little background information and a disclaimer.

My 7-year-old son, soon to turn 8, is very adept at the computer.  He uses it primarily for entertainment and can spend hours checking out YouTube videos of his favorite singers and actors, as well as creating his own videos using iMovie.  he is up on the latest movies and watches trailers of potential favorites.  He reads anywhere from 1 – 2 hours a day, on his own or with me.  He has read all of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, many times over, and is now on his second and third reads of the Big Nate books.

“So,” you are probably wondering, “what is the problem?”

Good question!

The problem is that my son has begun taking on the personna of the character Nate, in the big Nate books.  Nate, for those of you not familiar with this series, is a happy-go-lucky grade 6 kid who doesn’t do well in school mostly because he’s busy doing non-school things and blaming everybody else for his bad luck.

Now, I know Nate is a funny guy.  And, I know that Lincoln Peirce, the author of the Big Nate books, has written a tongue-in-cheek series.  Yet, it bothers me that my 8-year-old-son is talking about not liking math, for example, because Nate claims that ‘math is insanity’, ie. incomprehensible.  My son sees Nate as a funny guy who gets to go through his day in school as if he’s on a hit comedy show.  And, the series IS a hit with many kids as young as my son.

So, is this a problem with the books?  This particular author’s disregard for who his audience might be?  Or the ramblings of an overprotective parent?

Now, I’m not one to censor what my children read, unless, of course, the content is not age appropriate.  Until recently this wasn’t a problem.  And, when my son started reading the Big Nate books, I didn’t think it was a problem, either.  We devoured all of Mo Willem’s Elephant and Piggy books.  But now, my son’s reading tastes extend far beyond the typical grade 3 fare.

What do I do now that it’s too late to retire these books to the shelf until he’s older?

How do I counter some of the negative images he is internalizing from his favorite books?

Please know that I have tried reasoning with my son but that hasn’t always worked.  He’s curious and I’m not one to squelch his curiosity.  I worry that he’s being exposed to content beyond his ability to understand an author’s intention, including satire and sarcasm.  In an odd way, the book’s reality has become my son’s reality.

What do I do?  Am I worrying too much?  I would love to hear others’ thoughts on this.

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We come back to do it all over again…

Teachers do many jobs during the duration of our professional lives, some of which are not part of our job descriptions.  We maintain focus on several things at once, wear many hats at any given time, engage in professional learning on our own, and come back to do it all over again at the start of every school year.

During my 27 years of teaching I have served in many capacities within a variety of schools, including three countries and two continents.  I have been a classroom teacher from early childhood to middle school, served as a curriculum coordinator, learning leader, and ESL teacher.  I have taught all subjects and have given workshops within my schools and at international conferences.  I have mentored teachers, formally and informally.  I attend conferences, read professional books, engage online with other teachers, and do post graduate work.   I am always looking for ways to keep learning.

I am a teacher.  A jack of all trades.

And, because I love what I do, there is nothing else I would rather be doing…

Note: I have a new URL for my blog – ateachersruminations.blogspot.com