Sunday, June 26, 2011


1 : the act of reading

My family loves to read. Saturday morning B came upstairs and found J and I like this in bed:

So she ran downstairs to get the camera and document it.  (Note the stack of books on the bedside table.)  It's not just J and I who love to read.  The girls do, too.  Last week a friend met us at the park to play during A's ballet lesson.  She'd been out of town and had recently read my blog to catch up on what we've been up to.  She saw that I mentioned a book I've been reading (the wonderful The Art of Family) and asked whether I ever write about the books my girls read.  I kind of laughed at the idea, partly because it's such a daunting task.  They read so much - and have so much free time to read - that it would be impossible to talk about exactly what they read.  But then I decided this would be a perfect week to tackle a blog post on this.  We've recently made a trip to the library and the shelves are stocked with books for A, B and K - and combinations thereof.

First, a look at our library shelf:
See those books falling over the others, misaligned and half-hidden?  I started to straighten them before taking the photograph, then decided to give you a real-life snapshot.  And this is real life in our house - shelves filled to overflowing, with books here, there and yon, complete with tissues for bookmarks.

There are a few categories of books that my girls like to read.  A has more far flung tastes in books than perhaps any other member of our family.  She'll read fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, mystery, biography, you name it.  Even so, historical fiction is probably her favorite.  So when I separate out the books that are just for A, it looks something like this:

Where do we find books for A to read?  From a couple of places - about a third of the books in this stack are books that A found on the shelves of the library and asked to read.  The others came from a list that the reading specialist at B's school sent home.  I went through the list ahead of time to check for content and availability and then had A choose the ones she wanted to read.  I starred the historical fiction ones - like The Darkest Evening, Annie, Between the States, After the War and All Their Names were Courage.  She found Orphan of the Sun on her own, another historical fiction offering that ties nicely to the Ancient Egyptian history we'll be studying in a few weeks.

B's stack is similarly high:
B's tastes are narrower than A's.  This stack boasts books about a three inch high boy, a girl who circumnavigated fairyland, a boy elected president, and knights.  Only four or five of these books are from the reading list.  The rest are the result of time spent in the stacks, checking out covers, reading flaps and following her instincts.  After B selects her books, I go to Amazon on my phone to read the library school journal review and check for content.  This largely keeps objectionable content out of the house, but my girls are reaching an age where they are going to encounter ideas unlike those we have in our home.  That's OK.  I think they are old enough to begin to discern for themselves - and to ask me questions about the rest.

A final category that B enjoys is graphic novels.  Today she read this:
But not long ago, she read a graphic novel rendering of The Odyssey that was excellent.  B's style of drawing is akin to what's found in a graphic novel, so these books are great inspiration for her.  The challenge is finding ones that are appropriate.  Many of those geared to boys are heavy on the violence and the ones for girls are heavy on the romance.  Any suggestions you have would be appreciated...

K's stack is considerably shorter:
And this is the book she's been working on since our last trip to the library:
K really wants to read books that are challenging for her.  There are lots of books out there that she could read in one sitting, but she wants to choose longer books that take her several days to read.  The Royal Diaries book that she chose is one she's seen in our house many times before.  A loves this series and has read every book at least once - some many, many more times.  K has enjoyed reading about Elizabeth and has asked lots of questions surrounding the history of England, which A and I are happy to answer.  I've also noticed that K is far more drawn to non-fiction than either of her sisters were.  She'll check out books on weather, animals and more at the school library.  I just haven't found the right spot for her to explore in our public library for this type of reading material.

Even when I try to capture via photograph all of the library books in our home, I miss some.  A is laying in her bed reading a book that B finished yesterday.  B finished her graphic novel and went to her room to read one of the books she started a few days ago.  (B regularly reads more than one book at once - on Friday she had five books going.)

Some of this love of reading comes directly from my girls and who they are.  Their insatiable curiosities are well-fed by books.  Some of it might be learned behavior.  We certainly do what we can to encourage their reading - both with our words and by example.

If you have reading suggestions - for any of the five of us - please just leave a comment.

1 comment:

Misha Leigh. said...

This is all too familiar - isn't it wonderful? : )