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.