Valentine’s Day is past, and I’m feeling guilty that we didn’t re-post our guest blogger’s great Valentine’s Day tradition from last year, so here it is (just a couple of weeks late). It looks like spring may have sprung early (around here, anyway!) and I’m fearing that my leisurely reading hours will be prematurely replaced by garden-planning and yard work. I left my last “lost-in-the-book” experience behind when I drove home from our inspiring conference (UVU Forum on Engaged Reading) at the Chateaux in September.
I just haven’t lost myself in a good book, for way too long. Oh, I’ve enjoyed reading some new picture books, and some that are new to me even though they have been around for a while, and I’ve enjoyed classroom and office discussions of the books that my students and colleagues have been losing themselves in. But I’m feeling pretty melancholy about this, and I’m starting to worry. Maybe this is more than a midterm crisis for me – I’m thinking this is serious! I can’t hear any of my night-stand stacks of “read-me-next” books calling to me. I look through the Scholastic Book Order leaflets and notice some recent additions, but nothing is reaching out to me. I don’t feel drawn into bookstores at the moment – not even my favorite ones. I am stressing over feelings of guilt about co-chairing a conference that fights the 21st Centure problem of “a-literacy,” while I am exhibiting symptoms of it myself. I don’t want to read a book to “get current” in my field, and I don’t want to read a book just because it received some recent (albeit prestigious) award. I just want to feel lost in a book again. I’m longing for a book that holds my heart in between my reading sessions, and that I can hold to my heart as I tell someone about it.
I recently came across a delightful poem written by Tom Robert Shields and published (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2004) in Wonderful Words: Poems About Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening, selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and Illustrated by Karen Barbour. The poem is “I Am the Book” and it promised to be my friend, stay by my side… bring dreams I’ll “forever keep,” to warm me, and to plant in me a “spring seedling…” while I am reading. It promises,
“… I am the book
You are needing.”
So, I decided to ask you… any reader who may have stumbled onto this blog, in spite of the fact that it hasn’t been updated for some time – until now. What do you suggest? Is there a book that has been your friend… brought dreams you have “forever [kept],” and planted in you a “spring seedling – some book that you were needing and found — that you can share with me? Please write soon., because you may know the book I am needing. Yours truly, An Engaged Reader in Crisis
Posted by Nancy Peterson, Professor of Elementary Education at Utah Valley University, and Co-Chair of UVU’s Forum on Engaged Reading