Saturday, May 29, 2010

Books-n-Boys

One of the new features I will be working on this summer is a chronicle of the reading experiences I have with the boys.  We usually read together at bedtime and while we sometimes choose short children's books, we often read several chapters of a novel.  I've blogged about this before, but now I am interested in blogging through our reading adventures.

Yesterday, we went to the bookstore to buy our first novel of the summer.  I suggested we choose three books, then vote on which one we would buy.  Michael selected Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.  I selected The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.  We sat on the floor in the children's section and I read the back of each book to the boys.  They all voted for James and the Giant Peach.  I am fairly certain it is because Michael loves all that is Roald Dahl and because the boys had seen the movie. I was hoping for The Phantom Tollbooth because I have fond memories of it from elementary school, but I think i will have to keep talking it up before the boys will be ready to select it.

Even though my entry had not been selected, as we settled down for reading time before bed, I was eager to begin.  I have never read James, nor seen the movie, so the story is completely new to me.  The first few chapters, however, proved to be a bit different than what I expected.  The protagonist loses his family, and begins a miserable life with his abusive aunts.  In fact, the first two chapters were so troublesome that I made myself read a few more even though my eyes began to sting in hopes of closing our reading time on a less disturbing note.  The boys even asked me to sing them a few lullabies to help their brains focus on sweeter stuff as they fell into slumber.


Tonight, I thought the boys might be less eager for reading time because of the nature of the novel's opening.  As bedtime neared, I gave them the option of one more episode of The Upside-Down Show or getting into bed for reading time.  To my surprise, they unanimously chose reading time and without delay clicked off the TV and headed for their bedroom.  The reading tonight was not much more uplifting, but the boys are totally engaged in the saga of poor James and I am quite certain they will rush off to bed tomorrow night to hear more about the peach which is beginning to bulge at the top of the tree.

My boys often do the opposite of what I expect, but this time, I was pleased by it.  Michael said the reason they still wanted to hear the story even though it started of with such sad details is because they like to see justice done in the end.  I can't guarantee that it will be, in the book or in their lives, but it gives me some peace of mind to know that he feels that is how the world should work.

This time we spend reading together not only fills our minds with stories about  the lives of others, it gives us a greater understanding of each other and an opportunity to share a vision of the world.  Who knew a peach could do so much? [I'm guessing the peach is going to do more than I could imagine, actually :)]

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