He is hooked. At eleven years of age, he is lining up what to read next and carries two (heavy) reads at a time in his backpack to avoid any delay in beginning the next work of fictional beauty. These books have become constant companions; forever fiction friends. And it didn't happen by chance.
For the past year, the great reads he has fallen in love with have been recommended by the children's librarian at our town library. Beverly is his quiet teacher, and her temperate book endorsements have transformed our son into a prolific reader, mostly through relayed conversation with me acting as the go-between.
This is the series she recently recommended:
Peter and The Starcatchers* started out as a fantastic read aloud, but I couldn't read it fast enough for Nick. He had to race to the next chapter just as my voice was running out of gas. After completing the first book of this sensational series he proclaimed that life is better with great books - that fictional characters allow our imaginations to soar, and he loved 'to grab the hand of the wind that picks us up and blows us all through a story world'. Be still my mama's heart.
The library has outstanding teachers - librarians - that quietly teach in an advantageous way - they follow your lead. Instead of setting the curriculum, they welcome your interests and curiosities and help you build a new bridge ~ a new road just for you.
Beverly has helped Nick navigate the highways of reading; the cities of fiction, the states of history, the oceans of nature, the skies of fantasy, the beautiful world of classic and modern literature ~ all of this done quietly and often times indirectly, through me. She will recommend books without Nick being present because I can give her feedback on what he has enjoyed in the past. A computer can't do what she does - it lacks a librarian's soul. It takes living - and human experience through the love of reading - to come up with the borrowed beauty he holds in his hands each night.
The relationship you build with a librarian is an extraordinary, life-enriching gift. Model that friendship with your children today and they will grow up to trust librarians as a primary source of health, knowledge and relaxation. Real life superheroes, I'm telling no fibs.
What adventures have your children gone on today because of their quiet teacher? What stars will they reach for tomorrow?
* Peter and The Starcatchers is co-written by Dave Barry (yes, the famous writer of adult comedy) and Ridley Pearson. The idea for the series was originally conceived by Ridley's daughter, when she asked "how did Peter Pan meet Captain Hook?" after Ridley finished reading her bedtime story. Thank you, Paige Pearson.
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