Blog Your Blessings: My Reader

This week's blessing is the same as it was two weeks ago: reading. Or, more correctly, the reader. The student at school who has fallen completely into Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series has finished the fifth book. That would be the book I handed him on Friday. He finished it on Tuesday and, realizing there was no sixth book, started reading it again.

When I saw he was near the end, I called my nephew, whose love for the series caused me to recommend it to this kid in the first place, to find out what comes next. He suggested The Hobbit, among other things.

Next day, my sister emailed me to say that Alex, my nephew, said to her after our phone call, "I don't think Aunt Sandy understands that I read these books all the time." You don't really stop reading Percy Jackson.

With that insight, I knew I had to give the kid the books. I have been letting him borrow them. But he has to own them. He needs the freedom to jump back in wherever he pleases.

Meanwhile, my daughter filled a bag with her numbers of the 39 Clues series (kicked off and nurtured by Riordan) and her Cornelia Funke Inkheart books.

When I was these kids' age, I would latch onto an author until I read everything at least once. Back in the day, my favorite writer was Louisa May Alcott. I devoured her creative works from the morally upright Little Women and every related book to her Gothic tales following her stint as a nurse during the Civil War. With each book, my world grew. I was a loner, and happy enough that way, and the books were everything.

I made sure this student knew that my daughter and nephew were looking out for his next reading selections and that my daughter gave me some books for him to read. That he was part of a strange and disjointed reading group.

I have learned since he has become a book maven that he came to our school after having a lot of trouble at his old school. He told his counselor he wanted to come and do well and stay out of trouble. He does that now by keeping his nose in his book. All the time. There's a better world in there--one that hands down beats the one on the outside. This one.

I am writing this after a long and challenging day during which two kids were holy terrors, holding captive an entire class of eager learners. The bad rascals got their comeuppance--but at the expense of the good kids who showed up ready and eager to learn. Such is life in a place full of kids hungry for love and sometimes confused and angry when they are loved.

It would break your heart. Today it broke mine.

But then there's my young friend who reads because he doesn't fight the good stuff when it comes. Who lets it be and kind of likes the idea that there are kids about his age pulling for him from suburban elsewheres. Today, he is my hero.

P.S. After I gave this child the books, he looked at them and said, "They look the way they did when I gave them back to you." He knew them right down to the creases in the binding. "They're your books, Matt," I said.


  1. A wonderful blessing and a hero have you! He is blessed to have you in his life.

  2. "Today he is my hero."

    Every day you are theirs Sandy.

    Every day.
    God bless you.

  3. You are an angel.

    Aloha My Friend!

    Comfort Spiral

  4. How I love these three kids! Such a story in there somewhere, beyond the ones they're reading.

  5. Wow Sandy, I am right there with ya... I teach middle school reading!
    I have days like yours too...
    We go home with patched hearts sometimes...
    And then there are the heartfelt rewards too ~
    You are salt for the earth ~
    and a kind gift to your students.
    here's a beautiful song for you The Kindness of Strangers ~David Nevue played live at someone's home...

  6. Oh Sandy, the world needs more teachers like you. My heart goes out to your hero. He is fortunate to have you. Hugs to your nephew and daughter -you have a cute reading group... albeit strange and disjointed!

    Thank you for sharing -very uplifting! :)

  7. life is full of ups and downs like you are describing but i see you as a light of hope to the kids you teach. keep up the good work.

  8. You have truly reached this one! Sometimes, that's the best reward for the work of dealing with the troublemakers.

  9. wonderful, Sandy. so inspirational... so touching...

  10. And today, tomorrow and forever -- YOU will be his hero!

  11. books is one's best companion. they keep you company and takes you to places you've never been before.

    cheers to your hero!!!!

  12. What a good blessing to Blog about.

    It is sad that some books, sometimes afford a better world than the one we co-exist in, and hopefully, the reader will not confused fantasy with reality, but rather used what being read to become a better human being.

    One thing for sure, this reader has a teacher who is willing to go the extra mile, and to me, this is the blessing.

  13. Well, it's nice that the kid gets his own books now: static, unchanging, same as before. That can be like comfort food.

    But we, on the other hand, we get to read Sandy: fresh every day, always changing, always comforting.



  14. overwhelming emotion- he has to own them-- quite special

  15. Beautiful. You are hope.

  16. After reading this, I think that you are mine (hero, blessing). What a gift you are to those children, students, learners, even the bad ones. May you always find ways that refresh and uplift you at the end of such a day.

  17. My heart lept for joy for Matt.

  18. What a great kid, and so lucky to have you :) Thank you for sharing this with us :)

  19. I'll say once again you are an angel in this boy's life! It's so neat you have your daughter and nephew in on the fun too! I'm glad you don't let ornery ones get you down.

  20. I know that reading was one of things that saved me when I was a kid. By the way, I read Little Women at least a dozen times. And Little Men, which I recall I wasn't as enchanted with. I don't recall reading those Gothic tales you speak of and wonder how they got by me. Well, for one thing I didn't have a teacher as wonderful as you!

  21. What a wonderful thing to do, Sandy...being a real fairy bookmother. I loved this entry.

  22. i am so happy that you have been able to touch his life in such a positive way! This is another example of how great a person you are my dear friend

  23. Teaching is so hard. Where to put the energy and when to send them to the office.

    You are my hero.

  24. And you're my hero too girl. Just doing what you do.


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