Saturday, October 05, 2019

Reading to my kids: The Giver

I used to read bed time stories to my kids all the time and even push the reading level to expose the kids to books that were above their own personal level of reading, or books that they often won't chose.

My, now sixth grader, has long been an avid reader and can tear through a pile of books like no other (although is not easily assuaged if the book is chosen for her -- I get it).

Over a year ago, we carved out time for me to read to her When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (prior blog post here), and not only did we love it we also enjoyed the time together.

Prior to the school year starting, I decided we'd read a book together, and read her The Giver by Lois Lowry, I book I deeply remember enjoy as a child, and couldn't actually remember all the details apart from a general dystopian theme (I assume it was the first of many dystopian books I would read and love especially in my teen years).

What was so enjoyable about reading this book to my daughter is that she was along for the ride with no expectations, exploring the world the Lowry has created, where a few chapters in my daughter would ask a question like "do they all ride bikes, they keep on talking about bikes but never about cars?" or other such questions, as the author reels the reader into this world, that in the first could chapters you realize is slightly different but then as you progress realize is far more different than could be imagined.

The chapters are written in a way to create plenty of cliff hangers leading to the "read one more chapter please moment" and pleasantly are often short enough to lead you to oblige and there was a unique level of complexity to the story that reading it to an 11-year old seemed just right as the protagonist Jonah begins the book at 11 and into a transition into 12 when their community is assigned their chosen career path and released from childhood.

 As a kid I loved this book, and as an adult maybe some of the final messages and complexities felt a little more wrapped up then I had remembered (having now been exposed to Aldous Huxley, Kurt Vonnegut, George Orwell and countless others).

A joy to read aloud and a reminder that just because they can read to themselves doesn't mean you shouldn't miss reading aloud, this opportunity has thus inspired some further fall reading to my kids.

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