In recent weeks, I've reflected a great deal on the power of reading mentors in our lives. My mom was absolutely the most powerful reading mentor in my world as a child. Even though she was a woman who worked outside the home and still had all the chores that went with owning a home, she somehow always managed to carve out time to pick up the always-changing book that sat on the end table by her chair and read. I would curl up on the couch adjacent to her with whatever my latest find was at the library (usually a Nancy Drew book, or possibly Little Women for the 100th time).
I'm happy to look back at my time with my own daughters, and know that I have carried on with the role of reading mentor. My husband and I spent countless hours reading aloud to our daughters when they were young. And much to my chagrin (because of the million times we had to read it), they shared a favorite book: P. J. FunnyBunny. Not a literary star, but just a character they really, really loved. I think of all the trips we made to the public library. A great day for all three of us would be gathering a large bagful of books, and then stopping at Bruegger's Bagels to get our favorite turkey bagel sandwich on the way home. Then, once home, we all would have our noses buried in our new book choices while eating our sandwiches.
As they grew older, their tastes in books changed. Kate, my oldest daughter, loved Nora Roberts and Phillippa Gregory - she got the romantic novel bug from me. Carrie, my youngest daughter, is a far more eclectic reader. For a long time, Carrie was a huge Jodi Picoult and Nicholas Sparks fan; to this day, she has her eye out for anything new by Jodi Picoult. She also enjoys reading David Baldacci books, especially those about the Camel Club - spy and intrigue books are another weakness of mine that I seem to have passed on. But she is also willing to try my other recommendations, because so far I have not let her down. Her reads in the past year based on my suggestions are The Hunger Games trilogy, the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, and The Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.
This weekend, while Carrie was home for a long weekend, she was looking for something good to read, and I suggested two new titles to her. The first was Wonder by R. J. Palacio. I handed her my copy before leaving for school one day and she was done by the time I got home from work. She loved it, even when it made her sad. And then I followed that recommendation with The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. She loved, loved, loved it!! It makes me feel joy inside to know that the two of us have this bond of amazing books.
I took this picture while she was totally engrossed in The Fault in Our Stars on her Kindle Fire. It was a sight that made me happy, knowing how much reading can still be part of her life when she is given the luxury of time. I wish for both Carrie and Kate a lifetime of reading pleasures, and hope that at some point, they will be reading mentors for others as well.
As always, thanks to Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers for hosting the Slice of Life Challenge!