Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Great Books

So I cried as we finished the final chapters of, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane tonight. Audrey was lying on her bed (and sucking her fingers!), Camille was tinkering at her "desk" on the floor, and Nathan was snuggled next to me on Camille's bed. My voice started to quiver, and before I could help it, I was in a full-blown sob. The kids gathered close around me, sort of staring in bewilderment. Nathan kissed me on the cheek. Camille said, "Mom, stop talking like that," obviously annoyed at my voice, and prayed later that "Mommy wouldn't cry." Audrey smiled knowingly - she got the poignance of the ending. (I won't reveal here what happens - go find the book at your local library and read it to your kids!)

I love a great children's book. This, and another by Kate DiCamillo, called The Tale of Despereaux, are recent favorites. She writes a elegant story but one that is readable for young children. (And who couldn't love an author who uses the word, "perfidy" in a kid's book?) A particularly moving picture book (and I cry absolutely every time I read it) is Now One Foot, Now the Other by Tomie dePaola. Now that we're on the subject, I'd name these as books we come back to again and again: James Herriott and Beatrix Potter and their animal stories, P.D. Eastman and David Milgrim and their early readers, stories illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, The Children's Story Bible by Catherine Vos, to name a few.

My friend, Lynne, herself a twin mom, keeps reminding that if the kids are fed and bathed, it's a good day. (And let me tell you - I have the most profound sense of accomplishment when my kids' nails are clean and trim.) But I would have to add one more item to her list - have we shared a book together?

Audrey is herself a voracious reader. She learned to read at 4 1/2, and I still remember the day when she sounded out the word, "thermometer." Nathan is reading better and better every day, and I know we'd make even greater strides if only they published Star Wars readers. Let's be honest - Camille's lucky if she knows her alphabet. I do have to brag that she finally learned in recent weeks to write her name. (They're officially admitting her to preschool next year.) It did take a bit of convincing her that her name wasn't C-A-I-L-L-M-E. "That's how I do it," she kept insisting. And who can argue with that? 

I miss reading. I'm looking forward to the day when I can enjoy more than a page and a half before falling asleep. Speaking of sleep. . .


The Sunderlands said...

Keep up the blogging Jen! I've been enjoying keeping up with you through the blog.

Wheaton mom said...

It's fun to see what you're reading, Jen! It corresponded nicely with our newsletter this week as we think about books to read this summer. I'll remember some of these. Hope you are getting some rest... Carolyn

Kristy said...

How funny...I was reading the Olde Worthington scedule of events and they have an activity for 4th-6th graders regarding this book...I had read your post the day you wrote it and now I'm seeing that book everywhere. Crazy how that happens. I can't believe C-a-i-l-l-m-e is tracking with a book on a 4th-6th grade level. Pretty impressive =)

Erin said...

I admit that these last several months I've been too tuckered to read to the kids at bedtime... I've been reading to them at breakfast and lunch, and dinner when Tim is out of town. They really love it. Then they read to themselves for a half-hour in bed before lights out. I guess they're old enough that we can pull that off now. But I always remember what you told me about the value of reading aloud to kids, even older ones all the way up to high school. So, I will strive to always do that. (for the record, I often cry when I read to them, too.)

Good blogging, my friend. You write wonderfully, it's a pleasure to read.