Happy, Happy, Library, Library, Books, Books

Ice Cube Reading

I love it when I get a good idea–even when they aren’t original and have been done a million times.

Yesterday, after I replied to an email about the shame boys feel when they are perceived as smart or bookish, I became increasingly angry with the situation. Boys! I would strangle all of them if I didn’t love them and they weren’t integral to the continuation of the human race. I had to do something to show boys that getting caught reading in public–The horror! The horror!–is not social suicide.

Enter, Ice Cube.

I spent some time with a 6th grade boy this week, trying to get him to read something, anything. (His grandma reads this blog so this is for her: I got him to check out The Lightning Thief and suggested he read it and see how it compares to the movie.) I know he loves rap music and basketball, and I know he read Harry Potter 1-4. On a whim, I started googling “rappers reading books,” “basketball players reading books,” and ever other combination of “guys teens would know” reading books.

Then, I posted the picture to Instagram where I knew he would see it. I might have given a small lecture on boys and reading, but nobody’s perfect. I showed great restraint under the circumstances!

Today, I got up early and posted a picture of Rupert Grint and Tom Felton (Ron Weasley and Draco Malfoy) reading in between takes of one of the final Harry Potter movies because I know this boy checks his phone before going to school.

Tomorrow I’m going to post a picture I found of Lebron James reading.


I’ve been collecting all my pictures on pinterest in a rare instance of organized researching. I’m going to try an post a picture to Instagram as often as I can after I figure out the legalities of reposting pictures that aren’t mine. (Any lawyers out there with thoughts on this? I’m assuming I have to alter the picture somehow…)

In the meantime, let me know if you find a picture you think a teenage boy would appreciate. A few of you already have and sent me pins via pinterest. Thank you! It doesn’t have to be rap/basketball/Harry Potter. I searched for those because I had one boy in mind yesterday, but really I’m doing this for all boys, whether I know them or not. It’s better than strangling them.

Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. Shannon says

    I LOVE that you are doing this, Jules! Love, love, love, love! Fight for those boys to stay interested in books.

  2. Phaedra says

    And again, this is why we love you! Passion put to good use for the sake of our kids/communities! you go, Mrs. Kendall! You’re fabulous. This is awesome! If I find something, I will make sure to post it to you. *Yes, I did just use a bunch of exclamation marks and, yes, that’s how excited I was about this post.

  3. GreenDavis says

    I just love this so, so much. I have four boys and it’s been a constant struggle to engage them in reading. I’ve noticed that they lean toward non-fiction, but I never connected this with the fact that they may be embarrassed by being seen with a novel. Because reading a novel implies feeling emotions and being transported and that is not manly? I’m not sure but you are on to something. Thanks for doing something about it!

    • says

      Since he could read, my son has always preferred non-fiction. When everyone else was reading the Magic Treehouse stories, all he wanted were the non-fiction companion volumes. I think you’re on to something, too.

  4. Erin says

    I almost want to create a new hashtag, targeted to teens: #everybodyisdoingit #everyonereads
    I don’t know why I’m so adverse to negative phrasing.

    Anyhow, I love that you’re reaching out to your students in a way that they will see the messages!

  5. Susan says

    Shannon Hale has some stuff you might be interested in on her blog.

    http://oinks.squeetus.com/page/8/ – “girl” books boys love – 1/7/2013

    http://oinks.squeetus.com/page/9/ – Batman reading Princess Academy Palace of Stone – 11/5/2012

    http://oinks.squeetus.com/page/10/ – Guys read Princess Academy – 8/31/2012 features Jon Scieszka reading her book – also down a little from there on 8/16 is an actor from Austenland reading 50 shades of Grey which is probably not something you want to share on instagram but made me smile. :)

  6. Susan G says

    Well, I only dabble in copyright law (a very dangerous thing to do!) but I suspect Instagram is a problem for re-posting. To use a picture and make it your own requires pretty extensive alteration AND has to be satirical or otherwise fall in to the “fair use” category blahblahblahblahblah. I’m sure I have bored everyone to tears by now. :) Off to check twitter and what it might require for posting – retweeting would be best but then you have to find pictures that are already on twitter.

    There’a always consent. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have Ice Cube consent and endorse your project? Oooh – and you’d have a legit reason to stalkImeancontact James Franco.

    • Susan G says

      OK – never would have found a video of Ice Cube rapping “Goodnight Moon” (complete with bleeped out words) if not for your post. Not sure I ever needed to see that lol.

    • says

      James Franco was the first “cool dude” I thought of! My next thought was the 17-yr old “issue” he recently encountered … Dunno. But James Franco posts books he’s from time to time. I wish Instagram had a way to re-post!

  7. says

    Love it. My son loves to read. He’s 11. I fear what middle school will do to him, though, especially as right now he’s homeschooled but will head to public school this fall. I’ve got my fingers crossed that he’s old enough to resist the urge to stop reading. There is nothing better than discussing literature and ideas with a well-read guy.

  8. Jennifer says

    Love the pics! I love that you are connecting kids with books. Brilliant job!

    I also want to recommend a book: The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg. Not only do I LOVE her writing, I love this book. 4 kids in middle school connect, become very unlikely friends, and are on the trivia team together. Funny and thoughtful.

  9. Jasi says

    Boys! And! Dancing! Equally frustrating. My 8 y/o daughter passed out invites to her hip hop birthday to the whole class- same kids that hang out with us and all came to her bounce party last year. One boy, who likes my daughter much, ripped up the invite and tossed it promptly out declaring he’s the worst dancer and would only be embarrassed. Another boy said “only girls will go”. Movement is a gift for us all- trained or silly! If you can’t be a good dancer be like Yoko Ono and be a “bad dancer, with no regrets”. Honestly, of the 11 kids (of 26 last year!!) who showed up two of the boys really rocked out at the dance school party. One stole the show and my daughter had the best time sharing what makes her happiest with some of her friends. So I say, mamas, please let your babies grow up to be dancers. And remind them how cool it would be to have some moves in high school! Oh and DEFINITELY read!

  10. Jennifer says

    Boys and singing! I teach choir in public school. Once boys get to middle school they stop singing. I try and try, but I can’t seem to breakthrough to many of them. Singing is fun and cool!

  11. Stephanie says

    Love what you have been doing for these kids! I was talking about dating with one of my close guy friends, and he told me to never date a guy who doesn’t have any books in his apartment. I laughed, but it would be weird if a guy didn’t own any books.
    Also, there’s this site http://www.guysread.com/books/ . I like the categories they divided books into (e.g. “At least one explosion,” “Realistic kids in realistic situations,” and “Outer space, but without aliens”). Hopefully it is helpful!

    • Susan G says

      I see Poe listed on that site – I thought about him and forgot to post. I’m not sure anyone does creepy like he did!

  12. says

    Great ideas!
    At our school, the librarian went around and snapped a pic of each teacher reading and got posters made of each one with the caption “Read”. These were then posted around the building.

  13. says

    Love this post, for so many reasons. Love all the great links in the comments. Love most of all that someone else knows exactly how I feel about boys and the whole love them/want to strangle them thing.

  14. says

    Iron Man reads

    OO! Famous People Reading!

    I tried to find a picture of Justin Bieber reading, and obviously you’re not his librarian because he’s never been photographed with a book. I’d put THAT in instagram, but it’s a weeee bit negative.

    But here are all the boards in pinterest titled “famous people reading”.
    http://www.pinterest.com/search/boards/?q=famous people reading

    TA DA! Much fodder.
    I think if you can, credit the source of the photograph even if it’s just pinterest.

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