Once upon a time, my Kaden despised reading. I know, right? Reading is amazing! Reading is a fabulous way for us to live 87 lives in ONE lifetime. Reading is knowledge and POWER and all that good stuff! Still, despite my passionate attempts to convince him of all of this, he just wasn't interested in the least. However, last September, Kaden's best friend Kawika would not stop talking about the Fablehaven series written by Brandon Mull. Finally, Kaden gave in to his friend and asked if we could get him BOOK 1 of the series. My soul started freaking out...."A BOOK? You want me to buy you a BOOK???? Like to READ??? ABSOLUTELY!!!!! I am happy to buy you AS MANY BOOKS AS YOU WANT!!!!" I tried to contain my excitement and not wet my pants on the spot, and non-chalantely responded, "Sure bud. I'll try and pick it up in the next few days." (Who was I kidding....I dropped EVERYTHING and ran to Barnes and Noble about 10 seconds later!!) :-) Less than a week later, he was DONE!!! Say what?! He could NOT put it down. And just like that...thanks to the brilliance of Brandon Mull....he was HOOKED!!!! By the time Brandon Mull visited their school 3 weeks later (how awesome is THAT timing!!!), Kaden was already halfway done with the series! (Love the picture below of my awesome bud with his best friend Kawika [who awesomly PUSHED Kaden into reading] and Brandon Mull.)
I ran into Brandon a few weeks later at Costco. I did all but fall to my knees to thank him for not only sucking my son into HIS novels, but actually CONVERTING HIM to the amazingly awesome and wonderful world of READING!!!!! I think I might have even shed some tears. It was a pretty awesome thing. I bought two more of his new books, had them signed VERY PERSONALLY for Kaden...and was on my way.
Brandon Mull's books were just the beginning. Kaden continued to be absolutely HOOKED to reading (and still is today). He was finally experiencing everything I was TRYING TO TELL HIM ABOUT.....amazing adventures, mysteries, dreams come true, imagination....and even increased vocabulary (okay, so that last benefit didn't thrill HIM as much...but is TOTALLY noticeable to me and Jeff). Exactly ONE YEAR from the day that Kaden started reading BOOK 1 of the FABLEHAVEN SERIES, Kaden had officially completed 30 NOVELS!!!!!! 30! HOLLAH!!!!! The majority of these novels were NOT small, by ANY means AND all of his reading was done here at OUR home (which means that it was technically in LESS than a year, if you subtracted the time spent at Chas' house). Even MORE impressive. WOW!!!
I am filled such gratitude for Kawika and Brandon Mull, for helping Kaden to catch the vision, when I simply could not...despite my intense efforts in this particular area!! Jeff and I encouraged his reading over the course of the year by offering him $2.00 for every 150 pages he read. However, initially, there was no goal set or reward in place for the year mark. When the year had passed and Kaden had managed to complete 30 novels, we couldn't HELP but reward his amazingness with a fun drawing book and a $40 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble. So proud of him.....and even after a year (and a LOT of books purchased), still thrilled (and absolutely willing, without hesitation) every time he asks me if we can buy a new book. The answer will always be "YES! YES! YES!!!!!!"