Books are an important part of family life for RAF mum and writer, Susie Buchanan. Susie says books have helped the family through some tough times, so when she heard about Reading Force she signed up for scrapbooks and books for her daughter and son. This is Susie’s blog about her family’s experience of doing Reading Force…
By Susie Buchanan
I came across a feature about Reading Force in Just for Families magazine and thought it was such a lovely idea to bring families closer together through the pleasure of reading. Whether you’re all at home or apart, having something we could discuss and share opinions on would be a pleasant distraction from the usual chaos of life.
I told my daughter about it and we looked at the recommended reads on the website. At 11 years old, Chloe is an avid reader and ‘swallows’ books in a matter of days. Reading has always been an important part of our family life. We’ve read to both our children since they were babies, finding it a wonderful time to relax and bond at the end of the day. Chloe mainly reads to herself now, so sharing books has become a thing of the past. Joining Reading Force has given us the opportunity to share a book together again, and it wasn’t until we started, that I realised just how much I’d missed it.
Being a dedicated animal lover, Chloe was drawn to Gill Lewis’ Moon Bear in the Young Readers 11+ section. We completed the 'Join today' form on the website, putting a little note in the comments section about which book she’d like to read - it was all so easy! We waited for the postman to deliver our eagerly anticipated parcel but didn’t have to wait long. Chloe was delighted when she opened the welcome letter, scrapbook and stickers along with a copy of Moon Bear. Let the reading begin!
The wonderful thing about Reading Force, is there is no set way of doing it, you do what suits your family. Due to the content of Moon Bear (it deals with the distressing subject of bile bear farming in South East Asia), we decided to share the book as mum and daughter, whilst her little brother and Dad shared a book from the 7-8 age group – Stinkbomb & Ketchup-Face by John Dougherty. Snuggled up with blankets and pillows, we took it in turns to read aloud.
Here are Chloe’s thoughts on Moon Bear:
Moon Bear: This book is about a boy who is forced to work on a bear bile farm for money, where he makes a special bond with a bear, who he promises to return to the wild. This book has inspired me to do something about bear bile farming when I am older. I loved this book so much I bought the whole book set. I would recommend this book for an older age group though as parts of this book are quite upsetting. (Chloe)
Chloe liked the Moon Bear facts at the end of the story and suggestions on where you can get more information on bear farming and what you can do to help.
The story alerted her to a distressing form of animal cruelty and at first, I was worried this would upset her, but instead it has inspired her to work with animals in the future to help make their lives better. She has gone on to read all of Gill Lewis’ books about animals which are equally inspiring.
Thank you, Reading Force, for providing the opportunity for some quality mum and daughter time and enabling Chloe’s love of reading to grow even further.
Photo: Susie Buchanan and her daughter, Chloe, aged 11