My dear old books have witnessed decades of children carefully listening to their words. They have made children laugh, feel scared, ask hundreds of questions, and come to understand the heart of well-written words and a good story. Words are a treasure. Today those words fell onto the floor.
“Jennie, the pages fell out. You need a new book.”
Oh, no! Never. Those yellow and brown pages have lived. My reading their words have made them come alive, over and over again. Like a grandparent telling a story, their words have sprinkled gold dust onto children.
I just finished chapter reading Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Today I began to read-aloud the next book in the series, Little House on The Prairie. Laura and her family move from the little house in the woods of Wisconsin. We loved that little house and her family. I read:
“So they all went away from the little log house. The shutters were over the windows, so the little house could not see them go. It stayed there inside the log fence, behind the two big oak trees that in summertime had made green roofs for Mary and Laura to play under. And that was the last of the little house.”
I read those words slowly. I read them quietly. The little house was saying goodbye. Forever. When I looked at the children, every child was sitting up, staring, and not saying a word. Their eyes said it all. Or perhaps it was the silence. With that paragraph, those gold dust words, the memories and stories of all that had happened in Little House in the Big Woods came rushing like a flood.
We stopped. We talked. We read more, and a new adventure was beginning.
My old books had yet another day of their words coming alive for children. I often wonder if those books have eyes and ears, and squirrel away what the children say. Do they feel what the children feel? It seems so, because every time I read, there is something new- it’s a sense that I get. I think the books are wise. No, I wouldn’t trade old and yellow and brown books with pages falling out, for anything. Their words are magic.