There are whole new worlds in those pages
My 21-month-old daughter loves books. Sparrow can’t read them yet, but she loves being read to. She often demands half a dozen readings before she will go to bed on any given night.
She loves paging through books on her own. She will perform what she supposes is on those pages for anyone who will listen. Sparrow even chases down the cranky old dog and “reads” books to her.
Has Sparrow destroyed any books in her adventures? Yes, a few. And she is deeply embarrassed about this fact. She brings the ripped pages to us and tries to get us to “fix” the book. Sometimes this is possible.
You could say that she only likes books because her parents are bookoholics. That’s a factor, but she also understands something about books in this scared, pandemic age she is being brought up in.
We are constrained. Our books are not. Books are bursting with possibilities. Other worlds. Adventures.
It’s easy to lose sight of this as we age and our responsibilities and distractions multiply. She hasn’t lost the wonder yet, and I hope she never does.
On any given night, we might visit a farm, a fairytale castle, and another planet.
With these nightly readings, she brushes up on her sign language, visits the church we cannot regularly attend due to social distancing, and slams the book shut on Darth Vader, trapping him in its pages.
Right now, I’m along for the ride. Before long, she’ll be visiting those places on her own.
I believe with some conviction that this world would be a better place if we all read a whole lot more books.
Education – from K-12 to college and beyond – needs to further a love of reading. Sometimes it does, but my own experience with reading and schools was decidedly mixed. It was much worse for many fellow students whose parents didn’t encourage reading.
In a bizarre way, I feel like what is going on in my daughter’s nursery is part of what we’re fighting for at The College Fix.
Education today faces intellectual headwinds that would have us do anything but read, enjoy, and learn from the experience.
Books are denounced and cancelled by aggressively ignorant people, because the books have the wrong ideas, report on the wrong things, don’t conform to the right theories, have authors of the wrong sex or skin color or sexual orientation, were written in the wrong spirit, or portray how people actually talked and acted in the past.
First, they came for Huckleberry Finn. Now, they’re doing a drive-by on Mulberry Street.
Madeline is suspected of cultural appropriation. Jack and Jill perpetuate patriarchy. Little Red Riding hood is a hate crime against threatened or endangered species. Prince and princess stories are dangerously heteronormative. So many of these books need trigger warnings.
Well, enough with that nonsense.
There will be no cancelling Mulberry Street in my daughter’s nursery. May that one day again be true of our great centers of learning as well.
IMAGE: Ron Ellis/Shutterstock