I haven’t yet started the assigned novel for my monthly women’s book club……..
Instead, I am reading the young adult novel, Divergent…..and not because it is about to be released as a big-budget Hollywood movie……but simply because Jake suggested I do.
Books connect me to my children. I suggest a favorite to them, and they suggest their favorites to me. My sons are 14 and 21 and when they suggest a book…..I ALWAYS, ALWAYS read it. Because after I’ve read it, we have one more shared experience. And as our children grow, finding and creating shared experiences gets harder and harder.
Way back when, I read their favorites aloud….again and again. We snuggled in flannel pajamas and those wonderful words became forever etched in my memory. And my favorite story tellings were embellished with hand and facial gestures and even silly voices. Cause when your child is only three years old…..he still thinks it is cool when mom acts silly.
- So with wide-eyes and while eating an invisible cookie, I read, “If you give a mouse a cookie………he’s going to ask for a glass of milk. When you give him the milk……he’ll probably ask you for a straw. “
- And with my own eyes rolling and my own teeth gnashing, I read, “And the Wild Things rolled their terrible eyes….and gnashed their terrible teeth.”
- And with a look of fear and out-of-breath from imaginary running, I read, “Most Honorable Mother…..Tikki Tikki Tembo-no Sa Rembo-chari Bari Ruchi-pip Peri Pembo has fallen into the well!”
But nowadays, my boys are at an age where silly voices and hand gestures do NOT earn me the cool mom award. But those early days laid a foundation…..and when my sons read a book they love, somewhere in their deep subconscious, some voice tells them to share that book with me. And for that I am thankful.
So today, Jake looked at the folded corner marking my progress through Divergent and asked what was happening in the story at the point where I am currently reading. After I shared, he smiled knowingly, as if to say, “We’ll talk more later.” And because these connections are so important to me, I will make sure that we do.
So sharing books, or Family Book Club, as I like to call it, is good for a family. It lets us forge shared memories with our children and gives us talking points for meaningful discussion. And starting a Family Book Club is easy…….
Just snuggle up with your little ones and tell the tale of Sam-I-Am.
Or read you child’s early-reader chapter books and discuss them at the supper table. Cause any book from the Captain Underpants series always makes for the best dinner conversation!
Or wander the children’s or young adult section of your local book shop with your kid and find some titles that sound compelling to you both….and read them…..both you and your child. After having read the book and then seeing the film version of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Jake and I had an energetic debate about whether the changes in story line from the novel to the film were needed. Jake, always a purist when it comes to adaptations, preferred the novel over the film and his opinion was so strong on this that he later wrote a letter of complaint to the film’s director, Chris Columbus. I am sure that I could have never had such an intelligent conversation with a fifth grader had we not been in that same Family Book Club.
Because I have such a love of books, I love to repurpose old books. I scour yard sales and the Good Will for favorites that have been defaced with crayon or torn by clumsy little hands and that are no longer suitable for Family Book Club. And at RoofTop, I disassemble those old tattered books and make coasters.
And just seeing those coaster sets will bring back memories of those footy-pajama nights so long ago (my kids wore the footy pajamas….not me) and will also remind me of the power of books to transform a child….and a family.
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