Books are cheaper than heroin, but they DO add up....

Amy, Carrie, Chanin and Sarah buy (and read and review) their own stuff. They've been known to shop around from dealer to dealer looking for the best price. If you're interested in slipping them something to try out, just contact us.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma

Germs are bad. Book
fair germs are the worst.
Twice a year, I volunteer at the book fair at my daughter's school.  It's a full week of practicing my money counting skills (have you ever counted out $14.50 in pennies and nickels?  Because I have.), aggressive use of hand sanitzer, and helping youngsters understand that their money would be better spent on an actual book and not on a Justin Bieber poster.  But really, what it boils down to is I get to sit for five days straight and be surrounded by books.  (Yes, some of my mom besties are there sucking down coffee and diet soda with me but it is really all about the books). 

Last month, between classes of second graders and the recess rush I found The Reading Promise in the "section where all the moms and teachers shop."  It is a true story about a young girl and her father that make a promise to read togther (he reads outloud to her for at least 10 minutes) every night for 100 nights.  It seems daunting, yet they persevere.  Once they reach their goal Alice, an 11-year-old, suggests they go for something bigger...1000 nights.  As a single dad and elementary school librarian, her father Jim excitedly agrees.  To make a long story very short, "The Streak" continues until she is 18 and goes off to college.  To be exact, the streak continues for 3,218 nights.  That is 3,218 nights of reading regardless of the circumstances.  Nothing stood in the way...not laryngitis, hours of high school homework or even prom.  It's a story of their shared committment to reading but more importantly to each other.

I loved it.  At times I thought both the father and daughter were a bit TOO dependent on each other as well as a little too dependent on this streak.   I wanted them to enjoy each other more outside of the reading each night, but since it was a healthy dependency (she still went on dates and was in school plays) I could overlook their sometimes abundant closeness. 

And while some critics found the fact that Alice would sit close to her dad and lay in the crook of his arm when he read to her to be more disturbing the older she got, I found it refreshing.  Why shouldn't a daughter want to sit next to her dad while he reads to her?  In fact, I believe that if more young girls had healthy relationships with their fathers during their adolescent and teen years they would be saving themselves from some UNhealthy relationships in the future. 

Not only did this book make me miss my dad more, it solidified in me the importance of reading to my children.  I read to my kids two, three and sometimes four times a day when they were infants and toddlers.  Now that they are school-aged I sometimes forget that they still need to be read to.  If nothing else, it is dedicated time carved into each day where they can have my undivided attention. My only problem is that my children have very different tastes in reading (do they make an atlas/Harry Potter/weather encyclopdia type book?). I need to find one if they do.

The coolest part of this book are the last few pages.  There is where you can find a list of all of the books Alice and her dad read during "The Streak."  I find it to be an outstanding resource and really enjoyed seeing how many of them I had read, were read to me, or that I have read to my children. 

The next time you're at the library or the book store, pick up a copy of The Reading Promise.  And then maybe some hand sanitizer, too.

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  1. I'll be on the lookout for the "atlas/Harry Potter/weather encyclopedia type book". Sounds like an excellent Christmas present. ;)

  2. I so agree with you about daughters and their fathers. I am happy to say that my daughters have a great relationship with their father. Even though he would sometimes fall asleep while he was reading to them. Unfortunately, you and I lost our fathers at the same time in our lives and I know we both would give anything to have them here to read to our children and grandchildren all though mine would be 95 years old this year. This sounds like a book some fathers need to read also.