A New Reason to Read with Your Kids

Val Curtis

***How to Train Your Dragon 2 Spoiler Alert***

Last Friday, when “How to Train Your Dragon 2” came out, we were lurking waiting patiently by the ticket window when it opened. My 7-year-old son and my 3-year-old daughter were jumping up and down in anticipation and, to be honest, so was I. (See review of  movie here)

We gathered with a gaggle of friends and cheered and cried and ate popcorn. When it was over, the kids were on a cinematic high and then the questions started rolling in. “Which part was your favorite?” “Which dragon was your favorite?” “Why did Hiccup’s mom stay away?” “Why did Stoic have to die?” This final question did not come from the lips of my babes, but from my husband. I get why that might hit a dad a little harder.

Why DID Stoic have to die? I was trying to wrap my brain around it and kept failing to find any valid reason. He was a good dad. He wanted the best for his son. He was a kind leader. Then I remembered something…it is a STORY. In order for the hero, Hiccup, to embrace his role as the Chief, the existing chief had to go away. The writers had to have him die and they did it gracefully, in a somber, yet meaningful way embraced with Viking tradition.

So this is how I talked to my kids about Stoic’s death, using a storyline angle. This was how the author chose to create the transition. How else do you think it could have been done? I knew I could because we have talked about different story elements while reading Harry Potter, Charlotte’s Web or even Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

A few days later, this infographic was shared with me by Common Sense Media. As I read through the stats, I realized that most children wouldn’t have had the opportunity to discuss Stoic’s death as a literary necessity. I began to reflect on the conversations I have shared with my kids after reading stories. Whether it is about friendships, sibling issues, bullying or sharing, the closing of the book at story’s end rarely ends without some type of conversation. Were the characters fair? How would you feel if that happened to you? What might you do differently? Why do you think the author chose to write it that way?

It takes 20 minutes a day to teach your child about the JOY of reading. 20 minutes a day to open the window for conversations you want to have with your kids.

What are you reading with your kids this summer? 

Do you need some ideas? Check out our booklists.



Val CurtisABOUT VAL: As the Editor-in-chief of BonBon Break, Val loves finding and creating content to share with their readers.

A former middle school science/math/tech teacher, she put her career on hold to be at home with her son and daughter on an island in the Pacific Northwest.

When Val breaks away from her keyboard, she enjoys gardening, cooking, hiking, camping, photography, tidepooling, sailing and potlucks. She gets a kick out of combing the web for recipes and making them gluten free so she can share meals with her husband, family and friends. She is a tech-gadget geek who is poked fun at, but it doesn’t bother her a bit. Combining her love of photography, tech and graphics to create new, fun content for her sites quenches her “thirst” for integrated technology. Read more from Val on BonBon Break.

This post was written by Val Curtis exclusively for BonBon Break Media, LLC


A New Reason to Read with Your Kids