Tuesday, May 31, 2011


When the girls were small, we used to read chapters each night, all curled up on my bed. I read aloud from the Great Brain series by John D. Fitzgerald, the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis, and first four Harry Potter books.  After Cedric died at the end of "Goblet of Fire," I thought those books were growing faster than my girls were, and worried they would get nightmares reading the rest.  We read the Series of Unfortunate Events, and some excellent stand alone books, like the "Phantom Tollbooth" and "Nurse Mathilda." 

For a few years, after they had outgrown the age of being read to (I thought!), the girls did not seek out books on their own.  And that worried me.  They played the Sims, excelled at board games, and made movies on our PC.  But, they didn't read half as much as I did as a girl, with fewer distractions than kids have now.  But, eventually, they rediscovered reading.  On her own, Cathy read Gregory Maguire and Rachel Cohn.  Sarah liked manga for a few years, and then found Margaret Peterson Haddix and other authors she enjoys so much, she reads non-stop until the book is done.

What a relief, as a parent and lifelong reader, that my kids will be readers, too, even without Mom there to narrate the stories.  But, that nightly tradition has made a resurgence, too.  About six months ago, when Cathy was sick, she wanted nothing more than for me to read the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books aloud, and change the names of all the children characters to Dylan.  Last week, I read the children's book "I Love You Forever" to Sarah, and she cannot stop referencing it.  Her favorite part is when the mother of her grown son drives across town with a ladder on her car and breaks into his home to cuddle him when he is sleeping.  So, Sarah and I will text each other:  "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, When you are grown, I will break into your home Macgyver-style with only a ladder and some chewing gum." 

And this fall, I have one reading goal and I hope we can make it happen, despite Sarah's cross country and Cathy's basketball cheerleading.  There is a book titled "The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear", which is 700 pages long, but full of adventures, like Minipirates and dragons.  I want to read this to the girls like we used to, a few pages a night on Mom's bed, like midnight travelers on our own little raft, which sets sail on the first page, and takes us whereever the book does. 

Which is what books are supposed to do. 

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