When I was a kid, I was really lucky to have parents that not only approved of my reading habits but actively encouraged and engaged me in reading. I don't think I was ever told that a book I wanted to read was above me - I'd be warned that I might not understand some things and encouraged to give it a try. Help could be sought by way of dictionary and/or either/both of my parents if I ran into a section I didn't understand.
While we were living in the Philippines, my parents had a lot of furniture commissioned because they could get good, quality handmade pieces for not a lot of money. There's a lot of stuff that I remember from my childhood that was made there (and a lot of it they still have!) but the one piece that I still love is their rolltop desk that had bookshelves with glass doors. The books kept there were anything from Treasure Island to the Encyclopedia Britannica series and I pretty much had my run of them. From dog eared books to supple leather bound ones - I was allowed to read them all.
I was really, really young when I had my first taste of The Lord of the Rings. Six or seven, I believe. My mom helped me read parts of it but she carried on a tradition that would last into my teens - she read the book out loud to me, too. She'd probably been reading to me since I was a baby and, well, it really didn't stop until I was about 13. So, she read Tolkien to me when I was real young, which is why I really like the books. Tolkien can be, well, Tolkien but it's hard to deny affection for the books when the copy you own used to be your father's from when he was in his late teens and your mother read you probably the entire thing from that very copy. The copy that my dad finally gave up and just gave it to me after I kept 'borrowing' it, by the way.
When I turned 10, my dad introduced me to Terry Brooks by basically saying "You know how much you love Tolkien?" (as he indicated the copy that was being held together by duct tape now) "It's like that but you get action on the second page. Not page 200."
Now, I read the Shannara series on my own (as far as I remember: there's a very vague memory of a tooth ache or having lost a tooth and the first Shannara book being pulled out by my mom) but my mom and I read several of Brooks' Landover series together. I remember comfortable nights sitting next to her, hearing her read for what had to be ages in a reading voice that I'd kill to have. Looking back, I feel sorrow for when they eventually stopped and I can't remember if those nights died a natural death or if I'd declared I was too old to be read too.
I can only hope it hadn't been the second one.
But at night, she'd read to me from the Landover series and during the day I devoured the Shannara series. It had been years since dad had read the books but he was game enough to keep up in my exuberant talks of them. My sister, by the way, must have hated me during our play times because I clearly remember pretending characters from the books were amongst us and I remember it drove her INSANE. (We also played 'lumberjack' so I can't really say much.)
I genuinely enjoy the books to this day (to be honest, Landover isn't a series I'd get into on my own. I'll stick with the Shannara series), I think they're fun, neat and, well, really good.
But there's also the part that's emotionally attached beyond the enjoyment of reading a favorite author or rejoining remembered characters. It's a bit of home every time I crack his books open.