On Friday, I suggested a student read A Wrinkle in Time. This student is someone who adored the Narnia books and is generally a great reader, especially of fantasy and quirky, offbeat things that maybe aren’t so popular at my school, where Geronimo Stilton is king. He finished The Last Battle, complaining that it wasn’t as good as the rest of Narnia. He said “it didn’t feel the same,” something I’ve heard from other Narnia fans, child and adult.
(Confession: as much as I loved The Magician’s Book, I actually never cared much for Narnia and I’ve only read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.)
So I suggested another multiverse with a religious bent, A Wrinkle in Time. I have a hard time selling this to my students. They just aren’t that into it, although a few have picked up the graphic novel. That was on Friday afternoon.
Monday morning, he comes rushing into the library during snack time – probably the first chance he had to get downstairs from the fifth grade classroom. He’s got the book tucked under his arm and he’s breathing like he sprinted downstairs.
“Miss Leslie,” he gasped. “I need the next one.”
So we look up the title of the next book. (Shame on me, I couldn’t remember it!) I don’t have it in my collection, so I ring the secondary library for a special favor so this student can get A Wind in the Door before he explodes with wanting to know what happens next.
This is the kind of enthusiasm I want to impart in my students. Maybe not everyone has the temperament for really immersive, obsessive reading, but for the students who are inclined to be readers, I want to encourage them. For those disinclined, I hope they see the joy their peers get from books and want to share.
Of course, as a bookish sort myself, especially as a kid, I can say that maybe we aren’t always the coolest kids on the block and the other kids won’t look to us as role models, and that’s OK, too. Reading was always my secret haven. I hope my collection has a book for every reader, but I live for the kids who really love books.