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Reading by Nathalie from Yvonne & You

Yvonne & You is an online bookstore in which Nathalie carefully selects books for children and teenagers that allow them not to follow established trends but give them the opportunity to create their own with confidence.

Nathalie is a true literature lover, she reads a lot. She always looked for books that were out of the ordinary, of what the big brands generally offer to discuss with her children and open them up to the debates. Always looking for something else. She sees the book as an object of creativity, openness to the world, empathy towards others and analysis to bring them critical thinking.

 Reading is for her more than a moment of relaxation, it is also an unlimited learning tool.

 And then, Yvonne & You also has many resources in terms of cultural outings, cinema, series and documentaries...


How do you select your books from the millions of titles out there?

It's a sensitivity. There are no a priori criteria, it's the emotion that comes into play, the form of the writing, the subject addressed... On the other hand, there is always something behind it, I want the book to lead to discussion . We often consider reading as an individual activity but for me it is quite the opposite. A book makes it possible to exchange and, by sending a book in a family, I hope that it arouses the dialogue between children and parents. Growing up, one can pass the book on to a friend, relative; it also allows to engage on subjects "I liked this book because it addresses this subject" or "I found the subject important, I would like to lend you this book so that we can discuss it together, even if we disagree."

In my opinion, the book is a tool for sharing and dialogue.


Some books you offer deal with important topics (society, bullying, differences, election, emotions…). Do you take the time (and do you recommend taking it) to discuss this with your children?

Yes ! As far as I'm concerned, I read the books that my children read, so it's very easy.

This is obviously not the case for all parents since they have their own reading, for lack of time...

However, even without having read it, parents can encourage their child to discuss their book, to talk about what they read: "What did you like? What didn't you like? ". You don't have to love; you can also abandon a reading. What is interesting is to argue it: "I didn't like it because it upset me, because I didn't like the style of the writer, because I don't feel phase with this topic for now (but maybe later I'll pick it up)” ….

It's interesting to ask yourself questions, for yourself, to get to know yourself, to know what you like and what you don't like, what bothers us, what excites us; and then, exchanging with others, it allows you to open up more to the world, to compare different points of view... The book is a wonderful tool for developing your critical mind.


For families whose children have a big age difference, is it possible to find books on the same subject, adapted to each age to discuss then as a family?

It is always possible. And it is even important to offer the same subjects to children regardless of their age. With us, no subject is overlooked; there is no taboo subject, but the terms used are not the same. And precisely, to approach certain subjects, the book is a formidable tool. It allows the child to discover the subject on his own, at his own pace, possibly answering certain questions he was asking himself, before the adult gives him information. We tend to give a lot of information to children and we can be off the mark in relation to their requests, their fears. By reading, the child can therefore build his own representation of a given subject, his own opinion and, in a second step, a discussion will enrich this construction according to his request.

The boxes of Yvonne & You offer precisely this possibility because they are created around a theme that is the same for all the age groups offered, even if it is a serious subject. 


What is the "power of reading" that you sometimes refer to?

It is about the possibility of living lives that we would not live, of meeting people that we would not meet because we do not have enough of a life to discover everything. Indeed, reading makes it possible to meet completely different profiles from those we meet on a daily basis.

Then, taking a step back from our readings teaches us to show empathy, to improve our judgment, to know ourselves better.

 For example, a child, who reads the adventures of a superhero, may wonder how he would have acted in his place, would he have done the same thing or not? If not, what would he have done?

Few other tools so easily accessible allow us to take this step back.

The news one usually consumes is brief, intended to be quickly read or heard; this mass consumption of information prevents us from questioning ourselves. On the contrary, reading offers a moment during which we ask ourselves and we can reflect on ourselves and on others, take the time to go into depth about the information, the subjects it offers us.


Can all children enjoy reading? How do you get a dys kid to love reading?

I think it's important to always keep the notion of fun; i.e. "I don't read to acquire a skill, but to bring me pleasure, like when I play. I look at beautiful illustrations, I am taken into a universe” and gradually lead him to say to himself “I read for pleasure”.

An important moment to associate reading with pleasure is evening reading. We often do this with young children, and then when they learn to read, we tend to stop. However, do not hesitate to keep this ritual because children continue to need this shared moment when they are offered to read, even if they know how to read. To stay envious, let's offer them this imaginary rather than giving them the responsibility of entering the imaginary by themselves.

Reading in two voices can help children who are struggling; with parents, grandparents, big brother or big sister; it allows the child to read, to let himself be carried away in a universe without having all the weight of reading on his shoulders; and it is a moment of sharing.

As far as dys children are concerned, there are many tools developed by publishing houses, such as more airy formats… Audio books can also help the child to keep reading and maintain the pleasure, effortlessly. However, what works for one is not necessarily going to work for another; it is therefore necessary to test and discuss it with the professionals.


What about teenagers? Do they read a lot? How to maintain the desire to read alongside the attraction to screens (video games, TV, smartphone, etc.)?

A first difficulty lies in the fact that in adolescence, there are readings imposed by the school, which can reduce the time/desire to read on the side. If the imposed readings do not please, it may be interesting to analyze them together, to get him to make connections with what he is experiencing or with current events, to give meaning.

A second difficulty is the management of screen time vs. reading time.

The third difficulty is knowing what he likes; fantasy, realism, thrillers, science fiction, comics, manga, graphic novels... And to find out, you have to test; Don't be afraid to tell yourself to give up. Parents, on the other hand, should not make value judgments about the type of reading the teenager reads (e.g., "He doesn't read what comics") because whatever he reads, he reads; he does not lose the link with reading and, later, he will like other styles. Besides, there are now some great object books; manga that talk about bullying or that are inspired by classic novels. That's partly why I wanted to create this children's bookstore; to open the doors to everything that exists, which is not necessarily highlighted in the big brands.

By discovering what he likes, the notion of pleasure will be associated with reading. And if he has fun reading a book, it's like a TV series; reading a book can be as exciting and addictive as watching a series.

There is therefore a lot of work to be done to find what corresponds to the child/adolescent and the parent has a role of guide to help him find these readings and that he is not discouraged after 2 or 3 would not have pleased him.


You suggest learning a language by reading comics in that language. How do you advise to go about it?

In a comic book, if the child does not understand all the text, he can relate to the images. These are short dialogues so if he wants to understand the sentence well, he will not have many words to look up in the dictionary. The comic can also be read in French first and then in another language; in this way the child already knows the story.

You can do the same thing with TV, but the advantage with comics is that it goes much slower, the child has time to watch what is happening on the image, he understands the action and then he reads the commentary or the dialogue and he associates the two.

I think that any medium is good for learning a language, even if each medium is not necessarily complete, it constitutes a primer for learning. In this case, we focus on the written, the visual form of the words; and the pronunciation is done in a conversation or by watching a series to practice the ear.

One can buy the book while traveling, then it becomes a souvenir and is associated with that moment of pleasure; language is part of the journey.


How to read all those books without accumulating too much. How to combine ecology / sobriety and varied reading?

Turn to libraries, sharing (which is also recommended in my boxes: "share your book with a friend and explain why you want to share it with him"); especially when you want to discover different styles of books to find out what you like.

And we keep the books that we love very much, the beautiful book-objects, the books that have strongly touched us, that we would like to pass on.

But Yvonne & You is thinking of a solution to respond to this reflection…


A children's reading you want to highlight at the moment?

Fern and bamboo. It's a wonderful book, with superb illustrations, a little philosophical, which allows for a lot of discussion. As much for the youngest, who will stroll through this pretty story thanks to the illustrations, as for the slightly older children, around 8-9 years old, to approach the more philosophical notions. 


To discover the boxes of Yvonne & You, go to here, and to get into his daily world, subscribe to his page Instagram.

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