Monday, March 5, 2012

Passing Along the Gift of Reading - Slice of Life Challenge

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!


  1. Oh my gosh, Karen, what a gorgeous post! And what an amazing gift you have given to your girls! I love that they still read, even while they are in college and probably have a ton of required reading! Wish my boys shared my love of reading! Not so far, but I'm not giving up- the Tim Tebow autobiography is sitting on the corner of the dining room table, begging for someone to pick it up right now.

  2. I applaud you for passing on the wonderful gift of enjoying books to your children. I still read to my teenager and he reads to me - it is relaxing and fun. Even though he is only 14, he enjoys authors such as Julian Barnes. I know that he will pass the literary bug onto his children. Thank you for the great post.

  3. I love this post and the joy of reading you share with your children. And, I have to say, what two AMAZING books you recommended. Some of my favorite reading from the year there.

  4. This is a beautiful post about you and your daughters. What a wonderful lifelong gift you have given them. I can't wait to read to my future children someday.

  5. Wonderful to hear about, and to see! My daughter & I talk about books as much as we can (there again time is the factor) & I pass along picture books I have to her young daughters. It is important to me that I have at least opened the door to my children and then they can take the paths they choose in reading. Thanks for telling us about your memories!

  6. Love, the reading connection you have with your girls. I love talking books with mine. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Karen,
    I'm so enjoying your posts. You give me so much to think about. Your words flow so easily off the page that I find myself reading along and enjoying every word. You reminded me of my own mom who was my reading mentor. She somehow managed to squeeze time for reading into her busy life. We actually knew if she was in a good book we could ask her about anything and she'd nod a quick yes.

    I enjoyed your story of your daughter coming home to visit. Isn't it fun to still be able to recommend books you know she'll love.