I wasn’t going to blog this week. Whatever nasty virus that has been making the late winter circuit finally caught up with me. I was out of school for two days, and my workload kept piling up. It would have taken something pretty special to inspire me to carve out some time for my blog this week. That something special walked over to my desk yesterday afternoon.
At the end of the day, I was back at my desk in my glassed-in cubicle at school. In walked one of the most timid 4th graders, looking a little nervous, as though she was afraid to bother me.
“Do you have a book recommendation?” she breathed. So quiet was her voice I couldn’t quite make out the words. “Do you have any book recommendations?” she repeated. Now, I have met kids in hallways and classrooms all year long inquiring as to what they were reading and recommending books on the fly. Kiley was the first to come to me and ask on her own. I had several books in mind I knew she would love. Cynthia Lord’s Half a Chance and Natalie Lloyd’s A Snicker of Magic were two of my recent favorites, that I was confident Kiley would dive right into. Unfortunately neither were there at my desk, having been loaned out to others.
I asked Kiley if she’d like to read one of my new books that I hadn’t yet read and then tell me her review of the book. I had a signed copy of The Waffler by Gail Donovan. I told her that it was just announced as a nominee on the list for next year’s MSBAs (Maine Student Book Award) We read the book jacket together and she eagerly nodded her head notifying me that she’d like to try it. As she left, I found myself smiling. I felt honored that she thought I knew her well enough as a reader to recommend a book that she’d enjoy.
Well, that good feeling got even better today when Kiley walked over to my room after lunch “I’ve got a book recommendation for you.” she beamed. From behind her back she pulled out a paper back and handed it to me. “My mom got me this at the book fair.” I looked down at a copy of The Power of Poppy Pendle by Natasha Lowe. She looked so happy as I flipped through the book.
“Have you already read all of this?” I asked her.
“Mmm hmmm. I read it as soon as I got it.”
“So you think I’ll like this one?” Nod. “Then I definitely have to read this.” I asked her if I could keep it for the weekend since I didn’t think I could finish it in one night.
“Yeah, sure!” she smiled at me. I thanked her profusely as she headed back to class. “Oh, and I’m half way through The Waffler. It’s good!”
Now my pile of must-reads, gotta-reads, need-to-reads, should-reads and wanna-reads is massive, but you can bet I am carving time out of my weekend to read The Power of Poppy Pendle. Not because I can’t wait to see the power Poppy is imbued with, but because of the power steeped in that gesture by Kiley and my eagerness to talk with her about it next week.
She saw reading as a way to connect with others. She recognized that reading experiences can be shared. She had confidence in herself as a reader to make recommendations to others-even teachers. She welcomed me into her reading life and she knew she was welcome in mine.
That kind of medicine got me feeling pretty good again!