I love seeing children discover the magic in narrative. An astonishing truth grows in their awareness that a great story can transport us into magical worlds where the seemingly impossible becomes possible. I see the beginning of a lifelong love of reading as an enormous pleasure and support to a vital life. It’s especially important in this technologically driven age given to bullets rather than paragraphs.
Whether realized or not, what children read shapes their literary expectations and their world view. When a character comes alive in the reader’s imagination, he or she can skip lightheartedly across bridges of difference, becoming familiar with a culture other than their own by reading its poetry and narratives. Learning about cultural norms through story brings traditions to life so that people’s ways of being suddenly make sense as they are placed in a bigger context that offers understanding.
Children can entertain depth and complexity. They really can. Seeing them relax into a great story takes time. Listening to every purposeful word, and allowing the action to develop as it will gives kids a chance to savor it all.
At times we may long for a writer who can engage the part of us that desires inspiration, that wants to be uplifted. Over time we develop discrimination searching for those books that ignite our imagination and fill our hearts.
When I reach for a book I haven’t ever read, or when I reread an old favorite, there is always a moment when I pause, feeling such gratitude for the beautiful gift I am holding in my hands.