Remember those times you closed your school library for the summer and sent home a box of books with one of your favorite teachers, my mother?
What a gift you gave me.
It continues to give.
I’m reading Lad, A Dog to Ravinia now. I hadn’t remembered any of the story, only that I had read and loved the book. I am loving it anew. It’s filled with good description, choice words, pictures and actions, thought and feeling. How strange if I had never read that book.
We just finished Caddie Woodlawn, which I remember reading at camp, sitting up in the Lyre tree with a packet of powdered hot chocolate (the kind with dried mini marshmallows) and a few red hot fireballs.
All the best books! Now that I’m a mom, I wondered that my mom just let me read anything at the library. I don’t let my daughter do that now; there’s so much out there and her disability combined with her super-imaginative ability makes me quite choosy that she read better works, the kind you gave me by the box full. I’ve been discovering the old Newbery Award books like candy.
Remember when she was in second grade and you and I talked books a couple of times? You were close to retiring, and you showed me your city library when we visited you. Told me how certain authors and illustrators had come to your school, met your kids. What a joy. You really blessed many children, many people’s lives were enriched by stories lovingly suggested.
This past summer Ravinia and I ate up the Betsy Tacy books. You know them, don’t you? There’s a point when Betsy, determined to be a writer, imitates a dime store novel and her parents realize she needs good fodder. They send her to the library on Saturdays and she explains to the librarian who sets her on a course of reading classics. I think that librarian was modeled after you in my imagination.
Now I’ve picked up a writing curriculum called Write with the Best that examines samples of good writing and then has 10 days of activities to go with each sample. I enjoyed the selection of 20,000 Leagues, describing a large squid, that I’d never read. Who knew it was such a lovely and well written book?
Oh yeah, it’s a classic, those books everyone wants to have read but has to have assigned.
Or given to them in a box for taking along on a vacation.