When I was seven years old I wrote my very first book. It was an idea I’m pretty sure I pilfered from a TV show, a story about dryer monsters that eat socks. But I wrote it, illustrated it, and my 2nd grade teacher (Mrs. Scullion, because I never forget anything) bound it for me. It was a project, something I was supposed to do, but it got me hooked. I decided I was going to be an author someday. A famous one, I was sure of it. You know, the way seven-year-olds are sure of everything.
I’ve always been a talker and, more specifically, a story teller. I want to tell everyone what happened. All the time. Even if maybe I embellish a little along the way. That’s a story teller’s privilege, isn’t it? My social, talkative nature kind of clashes with my other dominate trait: I’m a reader. A bookworm, really. I’ve never gone to a school where the librarians didn’t all know me by name. I’ve always felt that books were where I belonged, if that makes any sense at all.
What I’m trying to get across is that words are more than how I communicate, they’re how I exist. Since I was seven, I’ve changed my intended career a few times but that first one has always been there. It’s almost like I just put it up in a box in the attic to wait until I was ready to accept it again. I don’t have even half the surety I once possessed but I know I want this. It’s the oldest dream I have and the dearest.
So. I’m writing a book. Maybe it’ll be great or maybe it won’t, only time will tell. But I’m committing to it with all that I have and that has to count for something.
I started reading with my niece, Lily, when she was nine. I don’t remember the exact date, which bugs me now. I wish I had made some note of it. All I know is we’ve been reading together every weekend for quite a while now. It started, I think, mostly because I was looking to spend more time with her. Reading is my favorite activity and I wanted her to enjoy it, too.
It helped that I’ve been itching to share Harry Potter with her since she was still in diapers. So that’s where we started. We read the first and she seemed at least mildly impressed. Not what I would have hoped but I didn’t let it discourage me. We read the second and she was still sort of interested but I could tell her interest was flagging. A couple chapters into the 3rd one, I gave up. I figured she wasn’t old enough yet and I would find something more age appropriate.
Enter A Series of Unfortunate Events. I was a bit older than her when I discovered them but they claim to be for her age group so I took a shot. She enjoyed them more than HP (more sadness on my part) but she was still not as engaged as I wanted her to be.
We took a break from the series to read a book that had just come out by Jerry Spinelli called Jake and Lily. Jerry Spinelli was my favorite author growing up and I just knew Lily would love this book. It was a good way for me to introduce the idea of her reading to me sometimes. I knew just reading to her wasn’t as good as her reading herself but I wanted to ease into it slowly. Jake and Lily was perfect for that. The book is alternating chapters from the perspective of twins, Jake and Lily. Each chapter reads like a diary. I was reading for Jake while Lily read for Lily. Obviously. She loved that one and it let me realize that funny things were really the way to go.
So I brought over my Wayside School books by Louis Sachar. If you had a fun childhood, you probably know about these books. Oh man, Lily loved these books like crazy. We even ended up rereading some of them. Success!
Now we are back on Series of Unfortunate Events (number 11!) because she said she wanted to finish the series since some of her friends already had. Of course, Lily knows way more about the end than I would like since her friends have told her. Kids, man, they’re walking spoilers.
She wants to read The Hunger Games after this. I am so, so, against this. She’s only eleven years old. And a young eleven, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned. I don’t want to discourage her interest. And her mom lets her watch the movies. Maybe I’m just being overprotective. It’s understandable though, she’s my favorite!
Filed under Kids, Reading