Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Will my son ever be a reader again?

Not too long ago, I came across this greatly mistreated paperback copy of SANTA'S CRASH-BANG CHRISTMAS by Steven Kroll at a yard sale. I immediately knew I had to have it, despite its obvious maladies.

I had to have it because my family had it when I was a child, and I loved this book. It had been one of my favorite Christmas books, second only to Dr. Seuss' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS. It had a special place in my heart even though I hadn't seen or thought of it for years.

The other day, I was looking through the shelf of picture books in the family room. My fourteen-year-old son happened to be nearby. Every now and then I'd pull a book out and show it to him. "I love this book!" he would say as he'd flip through the pages. We talked about reading them together when he was younger. Even as a teenage boy currently rebelling against reading, books have a special place in his heart. And he remembered that, just for a moment, when he said to me, "I like books. I just have to force myself to read the first couple of chapters."

I've been a little concerned lately that the boy who used to beg me to read CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS or CHICKS AND SALSA over and over has lost his love for reading. I've worried that the same kid who devoured THE MAGIC THIEF in two days will never find another book that he can't put down.

But those little moments of "Oh, I love that book!" have assured me that books still have a special place in his heart. With time, and perhaps some subtle encouragement from me, they will once again have a special place in his life.

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