Friday, February 17, 2006

Books, books, books

Next week is the second Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) distribution of the year at my son's school. It will be a crazy but good week. I wrote about the first one back on October 26. I can't figure out how to do those nifty links back to specific posts even though I have post pages enabled but I'd encourage any new readers to go back there and dig that one up. And If you can tell me how to do those links I'd be obliged.

The short story is, every kid in the school gets a free book three times a year. I love books. I love seeing kids excited about books. I love when they realize they get to keep a book forever and their face lights up. I love this program. I've run it for 6 years. This will be my last year though since my youngest child moves on to a new school next year.

I had my own little RIF moment this week when a very good friend sent me some books. Among them was a copy of The Little Prince by Antoine de St. Exupery. We both share it as our all-time favorite book. I had mentioned my horror at being unable to find my English copy of it recently (this book and the Bible are the only ones I own in more than one language). What a wonderful surprise to then receive a copy.


The Little Prince leaves his home, Asteroid B-612, in search of a true friend. He has left behind his beloved but vain rose as he travels other planets and finally comes to earth. He encounters many different people along the way but finds no friends. Everyone is too busy being serious and important. On earth he encounters a fox who teaches him the importance of being tamed. The fox and the Little Prince are like 1000 other foxes and boys to each other until they are tamed. Then they are unique in all the world to each other. But taming takes time. And once one is tamed, parting is a great sadness. The Little Prince wonders if taming is worth it if it brings such grief. The fox tells him it is because now the wheat fields will remind him of the Little Prince since they are the color of his hair. Before, the wheat fields meant nothing to the fox. The fox's teachings are distilled to 'That which you tame you are forever resonsible for' and 'That which is essential is invisible to the eye. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.'

I can't really do justice to this book with a synopsis. You can accuse me of being overly sentimental, that's ok (I cry every single time I read the chapter with the fox and every time I read the end). It's just a beautiful book. Go read this book.

In the meantime, tell me......What book do you go back to time and again that contains a life lesson you'd like to share?


Jodes said...

Hi Lime.

Sheri said...

I don't know what life's lesson I learned from this book but I do remember the power I felt inside myself as I read it. It was called I Like Red and I can't remember who wrote it. The pages were dog-eared from me looking at it so many times. I can remember the day I was able to read it for the first time on my own and how it literally felt like a siitch was being flipped on inside of me. Letters & sounds suddenly became words that I could sound out and read. It was amazing and the only other times in my life when I've felt that feeling was learning to read music and doing algebra. One day, I didn't get it and the next it was crystal clear.

Indigo said...

My absolute favorite child's book is 'There's a Mouse in my House' by Sheree Fitch. It's about a boy who's ordered by his mother to kill the mouse who's moved into their home. The mouse saves her life and the lives of the other mice by telling the boy all about her mishaps and how she came to be in his home.
......hahaha, see now i'm wanting to go find it and re-read it to my 4 yr old.

I also loved how the mom in the story was so......... ME !!

There was a mouse in our house
I guess it came in from the cold
My mother got hysterical
(And SHE'S thirty-six years old!)

Never have I witnessed
Such behavior in my life
Coming from my mother
(She's a teacher and a wife)

She yelled she screamed she hollered
She jumped upon the bed

Have a great weekend !!!! xx

Gary said...

That sounds like a wonderful story. It reminds me that people who are no longer in my life for one reason or another can still be having a positive influence on me because of what they exposed me to or what they taught me.

bsoholic said...

Here is the link to your previous RIF story from October.

Email me and I'll tell ya how to do that. ;)

Moosekahl said...

Oh my...that post brought back a ton of memories. When I was in grade school on RIF day you not only got your free book but a newsprint order form to order books. I was addicted to books. The very first entry in my baby book is that I love books. In 1st-3rd grade mom and dad would let me pick out three books to order and pay for them. By 4th grade I thought I could handle my order myself. They would give me x number of dollars to spend but I would go over that. I wouldn't tell them though but instead I got out a butcher knife and cut a hole in my plastic king kong piggy bank, took all my change out and took it to my teacher to pay for the "extra" i ordered...all after for discreetly taping the big ass hole in king kong's bottom shut. Well, the teacher tattled on me and I got in huge trouble for busting into my piggy bank and once again mom and dad resumed responsibility for my book orders.

RIF also always led to a poster contest. I'm a creative person but I CAN NOT draw a great poster to save my life. I never ever won the RIF poster contest and that broke my heart every time because the winner would get an extra free book. The kid that always once didn't even like to read! RIF is a great program. Glad to know it is still alive and well.

Seamus said...

It is "Morgan and Me" by Stephen Cosgrove - not when I was a child but reading it to my children.
"Morgan and Me" is the story of a young princess who lives in the Land of Later. She's a dreamer, but mostly she's a procrastinator, always putting off her duties until later.
One day she gets lost in the woods and finds a unicorn with his horn stuck in a tree branch. Morgan, the unicorn, asks if she'll help him break free. The princess, however, would rather go play than help Morgan this minute. But she promises to return later.

Once she grows bored of playing, the princess returns and cuts the branch away for Morgan. Together they roam the meadow, Morgan having since forgiven the princess for her belated rescue. However, the princess doesn't watch her step while they are playing and falls into a pond. From the safety of a lily pad, she calls for Morgan to help her. Morgan replies he will--eventually.

The princess realizes her mistake earlier and heartfully apologizes to Morgan. Convinced, Morgan rescues the princess from the pond. And ever since, they've been best friends.

I would recommend this book to young children, but I'm sure most adults will enjoy it just as much. Robin James is the talented illustrator of "Morgan and Me" and many other Stephen Cosgrove books. I highly recommend you read all of Cosgrove's books if you liked this one.

snavy said...

I have never read that book.

I have read all the Harry Potter books and Animal Farm twice but I don't think those are the kind of books you mean.

Ok - there are lessons to be learned in Animal Farm I guess - and I really enjoyed reading it when it wasn't forced upon me - damn high school summer reading lists. In fact, there were quite a few books on those lists that as an adult I have really liked.

And - BS - you continue to amaze!!!!!

The Village Idiot said...

Crime and good axe murder goes unpunished...

wait..thats not it

Anonymous said...

My parents never read to my brother and me. Once I learned to read tho' I would read to my brother before bed. Our favourites were the Peter Rabbit stories.

They were little books that just fit into my hands... and now that my son likes being read to, I read him the same books that I read to my brother.... the very same copies.

I have a collector's edition in all one book, but we like reading out of the small ones better...

logo said...

"Jennifer knew as well as you
That everything has its place,
But she just didn't care a whit, a bit,
So her room was a real disgrace.
her show was askew on the windowsill.
Her scarf was under the bed.
Her beautiful box to keep ribbons in was full of old jumk instead.
A very old,worn out lollipop was stuch to her bathrobe pocket.
And her bureau drawer, it was plain to see,
Had been struck by a super-rocket."

The Big Tidy-Up by Norah Smaridge

other favorites,
The king and the Whirly-bird
("There are many ways to travel." said his majesty the king. And he travelled quite a lot)
The Weedle on the Needle, a must read for NW children.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
The Count of Monte Christo.
I will stop now.
And I LOVE the Little Prince too

Brian said...

I've read the Little Prince to my kids many times. It was one of my son's favorites. I'd read it at bedtime over several nights and just start over again.

Robert van de Walle said...

I remember having books that were dear friends (The Hobbit, The Last Unicorn, I, Robot) but over the last few years I've grown away from them.

I really don't know what my preferred genre is right now.

I DID but on eBay a copy of "You Will Go to the Moon" recently. If there's a life lesson buried in that story, I don't know what it is.

Oh! Wait, I know! It's The Saggy Baggy Elephant! The illustrations are sumptious, and the sorry little elephant is very sad until he meets other elephants, and they do the elephant dance "one-two-three-KICK!" and rock the jungle.

gloria jean said...

The neighbor lady gave my sister and I a set of Uncle Arthur's bedtime stories when we were little. They were used and had previously been owned by her daughther who was going off to college. I still remember those books. I read them over and over and over. I didn't understand the religious persuasion of the author at the time but I do remember cherishing the stories. I'd love to find that exact set again. You've just given me a good idea for a post... check in today or tomrorrow.

Blue said...

Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

The lessons I learnt were more about myself and allowing myself to recognise the sacred feminine and be true to myself and the values that I hold sacred.

Not bad for a book about the Legend of Arthur.

I love the saggy baggy elephant too - also the wait-for-me kitten - about a kitten who learns that its ok to travel at a different pace and the others who learn to wait for him.

barefoot_mistress said...

I love your book program its such a good thing!

gloria jean said...

MICHELLE!!! I found the Uncle Arthur books on EBay! I've checked EBay in the past several times and the whole set wasn't there before. I can't wait until they arrive in the mail!

crestfallendespairacy said...

"..I am here under the apple tree"....This is my all time favorite book- I quote it all the time.
the chapter with the fox is my favorite-my fiance and I refer to the other as the fox and the flower....check our site out if you like:)

Love your Writing!!!


Bridget Jones said...

Hey lime, my beloved M quotes that 'tame me' thing a lot...

FunkyB said...

Probably my favorite children's book is The Giving Tree. Sometimes I cry just thinking about it. I remind my kids to read it when they're really mad at me. I tell them, "This is how much I love you."

Breazy said...

You know this is really sad but I am going to be honest here . As a child I had a reading comprehension problem therefore I didn't enjoy reading because I didn't comprehend half of what I read , nor did I have help at home other than my dad telling me to do it or I would be grounded or get my bottom spanked . Once I entered high school I had some pretty good teachers and they helped me through my problem but it wasn't until two years after graduation that I started reading for pleasure . Since then I haven't stopped reading . I love books so much now that I really don't have a particular favorite . I have passed my love of books on to my two youngest children but my oldest one doesn't seem to be interested in reading for pleasure much anymore although she has many , many books and I still buy them hoping that she will get the desire to read for pleasure again .

Sorry for the long comment ! :)

Suldog said...

As you know from another source, I love this book. Magnificent work.

Other books I go back to, over and over?

Tom Sawyer by Twain. It captures childhood (especially boyhood) perfectly, albeit in a much different time period.

Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis. I find that my perspective has changed with each reading. My first time through this novel, I scoffed at Babbitt and was rooting for him to break away from Squaresville. Now I find myself envying his middle-class boredom.

The Rape Of The A*P*E by Allen Sherman. One of the funniest books ever written. Also one of the dirtiest. This is a far cry from "Hello, Muddah, Hello, Faddah." A bit dated, but still hilarious (if you don't mind a balls-out sexual manifesto.)