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Saturday, September 18, 2010

THAT book

In every readers' life, there is that book. The one that made them into a reader. The one they couldn't put down at the dinner table. The one they read instead of playing.

Yeah, that book.

For each of my children, that book was different.

Noel found her book in third grade. Ghost Dog. How she loved this book. Her relationship with reading changed from something she should do to something she could-not-wait-one-more-second to do.

Isabelle found hers in sixth grade. Isabelle was never much of a reader before she picked up this book. As a matter of fact, she was the kind of kid that, if they saw a basket full of beautiful new books with gorgeous covers sitting next to a ratty looking old jump rope, well Issy would pick up the jump rope every time.

Enter The Clique.

Issy loved the Clique books. Begged me to buy each new one as it came out (which was quite an unusual thing for Issy....begging for a BOOK!)

My youngest, Cali, just found her book. Her English teacher made an evil rule (which I thought was brilliant) that the students had to read 100 pages each week.

That's a lot of pages, mom.

So, Cali was pretty picky about finding a book she wanted to spend that much time with. And, as much as Issy loved to run around, Cali has always been my player. You know the type...if there is nothing to play with they create something out of nothing. Chicken nuggets become princesses and the tater-tots are the terrible trolls that try to get the princesses into the ketchup hot-tub, which is really hot lava....

Why read something that someone else imagined when you could imagine your own stuff?

But then Cali found her book:

Cali loved WhenYou Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. I'd find her curled up on the couch, nose deep in the pages, occasionally looking up to ask a question, then nose back down again.

She loved the fact that there were pieces that she had to put together. This wasn't just a story for her, she was a active participant in creating the meaning.

All three books are so different, yet each touched my child in the same way. Each gave them the golden key to the world of books.

So I offer up my most heartfelt thanks and deepest appreciation for the variety we have out in the children's book universe.

All children are not the same.



Catherine Denton said...

I love how each of your children found their own "that" book. Hadn't thought of it like that before and now I'm pondering what books my own children chose.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

For my oldest son it was Deltora Quest by Emily Rhodda. For my middle son it was Diary of a Wimpy Kid. My daughter hasn't found her "that book" yet. :-)

Jessie Oliveros said...

Mine was Boxcar Children. My son is only four, so he hasn't reached THAT BOOK yet, although anything with trucks or trains will do.

Anne Spollen said...

Love that English teacher's evil rule!

I read "Fancy Nancy" to Emma so many times, I could recite it without the book on long car trips.

And I remember reading Nancy Drew when I was about eight and I could not put those books down. Does anyone else remember her?

Tabitha Bird said...

Oh yes. THAT book is so important. My 7 yr old has found Enid Blyton's book 'The Wishing chair" to be THAT book. :)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

The series of books my daughter read that impressed me most was Anne of Green Gables....Most kids were reading pop culture in fourth grade, but not my kiddo...

Corey Schwartz said...

What an awesome post! For me, I believe it was The Secret Garden (in second grade)

Julie Dao said...

I had so many books that influenced me - the Nancy Drew series, the Little House books, Anne of Green Gables, Sweet Valley Twins... I honestly don't know which one it was for me. But it's so great that each of your girls found one :)

storyqueen said...

Catherine-What is funny is that these are not the books that I "thought" would be their books...

Shannon-Those Wimpy Kid books....sigh....I wish I'd written them!

Jessie-You will probably have to read the little engine that could about a jillion times.

Anne-I never read the Nancy Drew books, mostly because we didn't have them around the house. I am not sure what "that" book was for me...but I have been thinking about it a lot.

Tabitha-I am not familiar with the Wishing Chair...but I adore the title. I'm going to have to seek it out.

Sharon-You know, that is really a great title...Anne of Green Gables. No wonder it has stood the test of time (and the fact that it is a great story....)

Corey-And don't forget A Little Princess!

Julie-Oh, the Little HOuse books! I almost forgot about them!

Jemi Fraser said...

I love when I can help my students find THAT book! So many times it's a book I've read aloud that makes them think books might be okay. Then they find one they read by themselves and fall in love :)

Kim said...

NO WAY! I was reading this post thinking, "I can't wait to tell her the book that's doing it for the Big Ballerina." And then I see it. BB and I are reading When You Reach Me also. She's LOVING it! Tonight before bed she didn't have to be forced to read. She happily grabbed the book. She thought she had the note writer figured out, but realized a flaw in her thinking. She went to sleep saying, "I LOVE the book you picked out for me." YES!!! I'm patting myself on the back.

Wonder if she'll like Ghost Dog. I'll have to check that out.

Dawn Simon said...

I remember specific books my kids got into at different ages as well as various books that excited me as a child. You're right: all children are not the same. Great post.

Do you remember Jenny and the Cat Club? I LOVED those books.

Margo Berendsen said...

My 9 year old hasn't found her book yet, though she sort of came close with Diary of a Wimpy Kid - that one she would at least read without protesting. But Isabelle and Cali give me hope! I shall add these books to my list to try out on the girls (I have four girls - the other three are a bit young yet, 6 yrs and 3 year old twins). Someday I hope to write a post like this!

Margo Berendsen said...

OMG I have been following your blog for a while and I just realized, you wrote Putting the World to Sleep. Oh cool! So cool! I am like jumping up and down. I love this book and it goes without saying so do my kids! we read it at least once a week - its only rivals are the Big Red Barn, Pinkety Pinkety and a couple beloved fairy books.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Both my kids loved books from a very young age, but when my daughter was in first grade she fell in love with The Magic Treehouse. I had read these out loud to both my kids, but she started devouring them on her own, like a book a day. I was blown away. I love when a book makes my kids that excited to sit still and read.

Elana Johnson said...

Excellent post! I can't pinpoint the book for my son, I just know he loves to read. And I'm grateful for that.

Nicole Zoltack said...

No book ever replaces THAT book.

Jackee said...

Rebecca Stead is a genuis. :o) It warms my heart to hear that kids love it as much as us adults do!

My book? The Anne of Green Gables series. I was nine and they opened up a whole new world.

Have a wonderful night, Shelley!

Michelle McLean said...

I think my book was Snow White :) My parents got me a huge set of books and tapes when I was 2. Those are some of my earliest memories, sitting there listening to the tapes as I flipped through the pages. My mom said that she was reading the story to me one day and she skipped a few words. I stopped her and corrected her LOL I was so little but I remember doing that :)

That set of books must have been my "first book loves" because I honestly don't remember ever NOT reading :)

Christina Lee said...

I sooo love this! I have a six y.o. boy who I cannot wait until takes off running with chapter books (asked me for Junie B. Jones the other day);--)

Kelly H-Y said...

That is so true! Great post! We are experiencing the importance of finding books kids truly enjoy with our 3rd grade son.

storyqueen said...

Jemi-Yes, it is always best when kids find the book themselves!

Kim-I swear, there is just something about that book that reels kids in. Rebecca Stead is my new hero!

Dawn-I hate to say, but I've never hear of Jenny and the Cat Club. But I think MY book was titled Ginny's Babysitting Business or something like that. Must have read that book a jillion times.

Margo-Oh, thank you!!! You just made my night!

Sherrie-My kids never got into the Treehouse, which is unfortunate because there are soooo many of them to choose from. Would have made my life much easier.

Elana-Thank you. How great that your son is already a reader!

Nicole-Thank you for coming by my blog. And yes, you are right, THAT book will always be special.

Jackee-I loved Rebecca's book when I first read it, but I had no idea how kids would react to it. It was nice to see my semi-reluctant reader reeled in.

Michelle-How wonderful, to not be able to remember a time in your life before a book. That is so cool!

Christina-Oooooh, that Junie B. is so naughty....even though I try not to like her, I just can't help it.

Kelly-Third grade was the magic year for Noel. (the other two didn't find theirs until later.

Myrna Foster said...

I'm still waiting for Daxton to find THAT book, but he's just starting third grade. Robyn took off with The Magic Treehouse series before she went to kindergarten, and she's been a voracious reader ever since.

I think mine was Shadow Castle, but it might have been the Narnia series.