Do any of these 10 things seem familiar? Then you were (or have given birth to) a bookworm child.
1. An advanced ability to walk while reading. Forget those skits where the kid walks book-first into a glass door. A true bookworm child can navigate a full schoolbus route including steps, greeting the driver, finding a seat, successfully locating their stop, and walking the mile and a half home without ever running into anything or lowering the book from their nose.
2. The inability to pass even a 1-minute waiting period without reading. True bookworm children will whip out the Kindle while waiting for their coffee to finish its 60 seconds of heating, rather than spend that 60 seconds just, you know, waiting.
3. Bookworm children are drinking coffee by 11.
4. A complete inability to pace themselves when reading. Bookworm children will pack seventeen books for a week-long family vacation in Cabo, read all seventeen by day four, then complain bitterly that the only books available are crappy Gothic romances or Harry Potter y la orden del Fenix. Will spend the rest of the vacation plowing grimly through Barbara Michaels, and come home with the ability to cast Unforgivable Curses in Spanish.
5. Will read anything. You probably imagine your bookworm child adorably curled up with War and Peace, but in truth they will read anything. They will read 2009 editions of Popular Mechanic if there is nothing else available in waiting rooms. They will read books they don’t even like: a paperback R.L. Stine surreptitiously read under a desk is still better than geometry.
6. Detention slips for being caught three times during class reading an R.L. Stine under the desk.
7. Stores of arcane knowledge. Bookworm children soak in everything. They’ll tell you what a turbo engine and how it works at age 12–because they remember that 2009 issue of Popular Mechanic.
8. A dour expression. This originates from dealing with adults routinely demanding “What are you going to do with all those books?” (Use them for firewood?)
9. A hatred of reading programs. Most bookworm kids will avoid librarians with summer reading lists like the plague. They’re not interested in filling out the form, getting the sticker, or being a Gold Star Reader. They simply want to be left alone to read, dammit.
10. The ability to sneak. Sneak Dad’s library card out of his wallet, that is, so they can get around the librarians who refuse to let “I, Claudius” go out on a kid card. The true bookworm child also has a practiced doe-eyed expression as “My dad told me to get this for him when I got my Babysitter Club Books” trips innocently off the tongue.
And yes: I did pretty much every one of these growing up.