Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Stories for MY children.

There are few things as delightful as sharing a book with one of my kids. I started reading the Harry Potter series to Monkeybutt when he was 4. Once he started reading on his own, he read through the Fudge books by Judy Blume, the Ralph S. Mouse books by Beverly Cleary, and books by Roald Dahl - all stories I loved as a kid. I loved discussing the books with him, and finding that we were amused by the same characters and antics. In the 4th grade he attempted "Tom Sawyer"...he came to me one morning and whined, "Mom, I just can't finish this book. I can't stand Tom; he's so bratty." I couldn't fault him; I couldn't finish it, either. I told him to wait a few years and attempt Huck Finn - it's a much better story, with better characters. Last year we started the Eragon series...Monkeybutt read the first one and told me I "had" to read it. I did, and loved it, and went out to grab "Eldest." He read it first, with me standing over him, urging him to hurry up and finish. We both spent July, August and September in a state of manic anticipation, waiting for the publication of "Brisingr". And now I'm waiting impatiently for him to finish it (I should have it by this weekend.)

I can only hope my daughter shares this love for reading. I just spent the last hour reading to her before bed. We are reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I read the first three as a child, and loved them so much I just kept rereading them...I never moved on past "On the Banks of Plum Creek". So these past 4 books have been all new to me, and I am enjoying them immensely (we're reading "Little Town on the Prairie"). So much, actually, that I have a tendency to read on past her bed time, until she is softly snoring beside me. Then, of course, I have to go back a chapter the next night. Or I stop reading aloud and keep reading forward until Girl Child pokes me and reminds me I'm supposed to be telling her the story, too. It is just such a pleasure to share these stories with her, to talk about what life was like in the late 1800's, how lucky she is to be born now, when she has choices in her life, heat and food in the winter time, an opportunity to learn and speak her mind, and be an independent and free human being, rather than just a wife, mother, daughter (although, from the stories we're reading, Charles Ingalls was quite the progressive male for his time.) A few weeks ago, while visiting a homestead in Peoria, the Girl Child identified excitedly the butter churn in the corner and the chamber pot under the straw mattress in the loft. In the future, I predict various historical vacation spots, with the kids and myself running excitedly from relic to relic, telling stories and facts from books we've read, while my dear, bored husband trudges along behind me, asking to go back to the hotel to swim and play mini-golf.

whew...once again I have rambled. All of this is simply to express the joy I feel in sharing a love for reading and history with my kids. They drive me crazy in millions of different ways (not the least of which is their shared enjoyment of beating the crap out of each other), BUT discussing an interesting story or fascinating historical tidbit certainly takes us a large part of the way toward "totally worth it."


Jenn said...

I love to read. C isn't too keen on it but managed to make it through 3 Harry Potters. She is now into teen romances... ugh. A on the other hand made it through 4 Harrys and is reading a variety of books. Judy Blume and SE Hinton were my fav authors and both girls liked Blume, and C just finished the Outsiders. :-)

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