I want to tell them what to read
At the bookstore/library, my 8yo gravitates always to the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series": a cute, fun and light set of books that is sure to make her giggle from time to time. The other day, I put my foot down when she asked me to buy her the first in the series (she already has the other four or five books). I told her flat-out "no". We kind of don't have funds to buy another book, and we definitely don't have enough cash for a book (hardcover only!) that I consider to be not-too-substantive. I pulled out some other suggestions, different topics, new reads. She refused and wanted only the book she originally picked out.
I recall when my other daughter, then aged 9 or 10, was obsessed with the very "girly" pre-tween Winnie Years Series that started with "Ten" and moved on to "Eleven", "Twelve", "Thirteen" and "Thirteen plus one". When she started reading the series, she wasn't even ten yet. Still, she managed to score herself the books, mostly through gifts and her addition of these books on her wish lists. She used to read them over and over. I often tried to introduce her to other books, and sometimes she'd read them, but she would always go back to the Winnie Years.
When I was my girls' ages, I was a voracious reader and I loved biographies. I loved reading and re-reading "The Diary of Anne Frank" and books about Helen Keller. I was pretty obsessed with Helen Keller, actually, and taught myself Braille and basic sign language and I was working on reading lips. I also loved the Little House series and I still love reading those books with the kids.
So, anyway, as my 8yo spiraled into a tantrum outside the bookstore last Sunday and continued to wail the whole bike ride home, I wondered: can I control what they read? Can I insist that they NOT read certain books? (You don't have to tell me what I already know: the answer is "NO".) Better questions to pose would be: how can I steer my kids to read new books, other genres, different topics? Is it like introducing vegetables to toddlers: keep offering it and eventually they will like it?