What Do You Learn From Your Kids' Books?

Here's one good thing about the recent snowy, freezing winter: it was perfect reading weather.  My guys are 9 and 11 now...and we still LOVE to read together.  Sure, they simulatenously work on their own reading selections...but we always have a joint book going, that we look forward to enjoying, side-by-side.  And, I must say, I get as much out of these experiences as they do.

We've had a rewarding few months.  First, we read R.J. Palacio's masterpiece, Wonder, about a funny and smart boy named Auggie, who has a severe facial abnormality.  Still in hardcover due to it's popularity, Wonder has been read by more than 1 million people, adopted by libraries and schools nationwide, thanks to a Choose Kind campaign associated with it.  Auggie is a strong character with a warm, likeable voice who taught my guys about differences, tolerance and unbelievable bravery.  We were all cheering and crying (OK, that was me) at the end.  Clearly, I am not the only adult who was moved by this book.  The life lessons resonated with this 41 year old, so appreciative of the opportunity to talk with the boys about the wonderful, sometimes-painful, complicated world around us.

Then, we moved onto The Giver Quartet, a perfectly astounding 4-book series by Lois Lowry.  When we began the first book, The Giver, winner of the Newbery Medal, I was worried that my 9 year old was too young for this tale of a dystopian society where feelings are muted and families are manufactured.  But, we took it slow, talked a lot and touched on meaningful topics: again, the importance of differences and honesty....also, the dangers of suppression and the bravery to know what's right, even when others are on the wrong path.  As the series progressed, the stories continued to be compelling - a girl who could weave the future, a boy who saved his village from evil, a young mother on a grueling quest for her son.  

This blog post about The Giver is a response to a writer's assertation that adults should feel embarrassed when caught reading Young Adult fiction.  Would I have read Wonder or The Giver Quartet, had it not been for my kids?  Nope.  Am I a richer person for having experienced these extraordinary tomes?  Absolutely.  I'm grateful for the life lessons, shared together, amidst many, important conversations.

What books have inspired important moments for you and your children?

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