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When parents ask children's author Kate Messner about what kids should be reading, she always says the same thing.

Messner is an award-winning author who has written more than 30 books, including the juvenile fiction series "Ranger in Time." She was also a middle school teacher for 15 years.

In a Twitter thread, Messner shared that parents often approach her to express concern about the kinds of the books their kids read.


"Sometimes, adults worry that summer reading isn't hard enough or challenging enough or academic enough," she wrote.

Her advice? Let them read what they love: "If they love it and want to read?" That is enough."

Messner also offered comfort to parents whose kids only want to read graphic novels.

She assures parents that comic books and graphic novels are still great reading choices.

She told the story of a dad who stopped her in the grocery store one day to say that his son kept reading graphic novels and ask her what he should do about it. Messner replied, "Buy him more graphic novels. And go to the library because they have some great ones."

Messner pointed out that she grew up reading "Archie" comics, which made her a reader. "Comics and graphic novels of today are smart and sophisticated," she wrote, "and they create readers in a big way."

That endorsement of graphic novels is a balm to parents who worry their kids aren't "really reading" when they indulge in comic-style books. But reading can be done in a variety of ways, books come in a variety of formats, and if a kid is enamored with stories being told a specific way, there's nothing wrong with that.

Reading graphic novels is a good "in" to the reading world for some kids, and when they are ready for something different, they'll already have the reading habit established.

Forcing kids to read books they don't like or aren't interested in is a quick way to make kids hate reading.

In our eagerness to create readers, parents and educators can do some unintentional damage. For example, mandatory reading logs, where kids are required to read for a certain number of minutes and keep track of it each day, have been shown in at least one study to diminish a child's interest in reading.

"When reading is portrayed as something one has to be forced to do," the authors of one such study wrote, "students may draw the conclusion that it is not the kind of activity they want to engage in when given free time."

Since 1 in 4 American adults don't read any books, helping kids love reading is important.

According to a Pew report, about 24% of adults in the U.S. haven't read any books — in whole or in part — in the past year. That includes, print, electronic, and audio formats. One might assume that those numbers are a product of the digital generation, but the report found that Americans under 50 years of age are more likely to have read a book than those over 50.

Books don't have to be long or difficult to be valuable. And considering the research that shows how reading increases intelligence, empathy, mental health, and more, developing a habit of devouring books is more important than fretting over specific kinds.

And way to do that, according to Messner, is simple: "Let your kids read what they love. The End."

Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.