A girl and her cat take on the world with nothing more than a cup of tea and a good book and enough dreams to fill the universe.
Some of you may have read my previous post, Read a Book, which details how I have been trying to help my host student learn to like to read. Really, I’ve just been trying to get her to pick up a book. Any book besides her math textbook. Here’s an update of how this struggle is going.
A few days ago, Hannah stayed home from school sick. (There is some controversy between my sister and myself as to whether or not she was really sick, so please do not imagine her all curled up in a ball and sweaty and throwing up with a stuffy nose. She appeared to be in good health.) I was kind of excited because I know when I’m sick, I read. I read and watch movies. So, I’ve been holding on to this graphic novel called Drama, by Raina Telgemeier, and I have been leaving it around the house in conspicuous spots for awhile and she hadn’t taken the bait yet. I seized the moment and left it in her room within reach of the bed. When I checked back in with her, she was on her computer. When I checked back later, she was on her computer. When I checked my computer at school, she was on facebook. When I got home, she was still on her computer. She spent the entire day in her room on her computer. No such luck that the mood would strike her and she would begin reading.
She literally used all of my family’s data plan in a few weeks on her phone… Books will save you money too.
Then, a breakthrough. Maybe. I peaked in her room one day when she was sick to take a look at the book pile I gave her, which is normally very, very organized. Big books on the bottom, thin ones on the top, all centered the one on top of the other. And it wasn’t. The top book was slightly askew. No bookmark or anything sticking out of it to mark a place, but it was enough of a difference to give me hope. That top book was Drama. We may be making progress here or she could have just not had time to organize her book pile. I like to think that we’re making progress.
Books that are stacked like this, neatly, orderly, almost as though they have never been touched.
For the future, I’m also thinking about just sitting down with her and saying, “Let’s read a book.” And turning it in to kind of a tradition. In my mind, this scenario plays out really well. We curl up on the couch and she has a cup of hot chocolate and a blanket and I read something like The Book Thief by Markus Zusak aloud and then we go see the movie at Christmas time. She could even help translate the German bits. I chose The Book Thief because it’s beautiful writing, it takes place in Germany, and the little girl goes through homesickness and adjusting to a new family. I felt like maybe this would be a good match and she could be more involved to since many of the characters use German words in their dialogue. I’m crossing my fingers and wishing on every star that this works. I’ll keep you all posted.
Especially when we get to this moment.
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Brian Marggraf, Author of Dream Brother: A Novel, Independent publishing advocate, New York City dweller
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New York City based photographer STEFAN FALKE visits artists who live and work on both sides of the 2000 miles long U.S.- Mexico border to document the vibrant culture of the region for his ongoing project. All photos and texts © Stefan Falke (No use without written permission by the author)