Most nights, I read to my kids. Last night we decided to give up on Ramona and Her Father and switch over to A Wizard of Earthsea, instead. I haven’t read that one since I was a kid. Sometimes I suspect I read to my kids because it gives me such a great excuse to revisit old faves… It’s going better than I thought, even though the youngest two fell asleep before the chapter was done. (Which is the secret plan. Mwa ha ha ha!) Before either of those, we read Then Again, Maybe I Won’t, which they liked very much. It’s funny how often I have to preface our books with, “This was before cell phones and video games, so…” It’s hard to get a book that’s suitable and enjoyable for their varied ages. I try to err on the side of bigger words, and that’s why we quit the Beverly Cleary. My youngest is old enough to read those by himself, and he’s been reading the Henrys and the Ribsys at school.

When I was in seventh grade, our Reading teacher read us Flowers for Algernon. I’ll never forget the way she cried at the end. “I’m sorry,” she said, between hugely noisy sobs and gulps for air, “The end always makes me cry!” Some of the kids snickered, and some of them looked scared. I don’t know what face I made (maybe snickered) but I remember being amazed to see a grown-up so affected by a book. That freed me up in some ways. A few years after I left that school, I heard that teacher died. I didn’t fully appreciate her until it was too late. (Like you do with all teachers, in a way.)

I’m trying to read Kavalier and Clay, but it’s hard to read big-word books when you don’t have big blocks of time, and you keep having to re-read in order to get back into the flow. Or maybe this one just starts slow. If you read it, feel free to comment and tell me what you thought.

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Posted in books, parenting on 02/10/2006 10:38 pm

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