8.30.2016

The Stages of Introducing My Child to MY Favorite Childhood Book

When I wrote about experiencing The Amulet Series with my son, I shared my absolute favorite book from my youth: A Wrinkle in Time (and my treasured signed copy).

(Apparently Chelsea Clinton's favorite book growing up, too! Here's a great article from The Atlantic on the subject. Nerd girls unite!) As I mentioned in that post, I wanted to read it with him before introducing the graphic novel. We read it together at the beginning of the summer and I was surprised at the myriad feelings I experienced. Sure, I was excited to share Harry Potter with him for the first time and we finished The Prisoner of Azkaban this summer (We're on a 'one each summer' schedule.) But, although I'm a HUGE fan of the boy wizard, I read J.K. Rowlings books in my twenties. It's not quite the same anticipation of sharing something that shaped your own childhood.

First stage: Trepidation. Will he like it? What if he DOESN'T like it? It IS a little weird with flying space centaurs, creepy children and disembodied brains... I hadn't re-read it in a good twenty or so years and these things were making me chuckle. This fascinating New York Times article explores the idea: Is It Harder to Be Transported By a Book as You Get Older? And it made sense to me. So! I decided that even though it wasn't totally transporting me like it did the very first time I read it eons ago, it might be a different story for my kid.

Second stage: Nonchalance. Feign indifference: d'you want to read it tonight, or something else? *while crossing fingers that he wants to continue reading* 

Third stage: Hope. He wants to keep reading! Can you read with me for ten more minutes, please!? Well... OKAY.

Fourth stage: Dry Mouth from suuuuper long reading sessions. But that's fine because...

Fifth stage: Elation! He loves it! And I feel really lucky in that regard. Everyone has different taste in reading, and what they want to get out of a book. He really has a thing for the silly (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, etc.) and I don't think that was ever my bag, so this is awesome.

Sixth stage: Endless Conversation. We got into so many great discussions about the book. A Wrinkle in Time is rife with conversation starters about big topics like good and evil, spirituality and being yourself. Not to mention all the inevitable questions about my childhood, when I read the book. We even spent some time researching all the different cover art, because he wanted to see what the version I read looked like. If you google Wrinkle in Time Cover Art, there seem to be DOZENS. Mine looked like this:
Like the heyday 70s Are You There God? It's Me Margaret covers. 

And, of course, he got his own copy of the graphic novel when we were done reading. 
It sits on the floor next to his bed (well, there's lots of stuff on the floor) and he's already re-read it twice. I've purchased the rest of the quintet and I hope that he enjoys them, too. Something tells me he will, though...

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