My niece, who lives in North Carolina, recently turned nine. I sent her a hardbound copy of the book Charlotte’s Web for her birthday.
I also gave her something even more special. You see, along with that book came a promise. A promise that we would get together by phone every Sunday night and discuss a book that we would read together.
At first I wasn’t sure if she would enjoy this long-distance book group. Still, I was looking forward to our first meeting. As a kid, I always had my nose in a book (still do), but I don’t remember ever reading Charlotte’s Web, so I thought it would be a journey of discovery for both of us. Boy, was I right!
I was horrified to learn on page one that Mr. Arable had plans to slaughter old Wilbur the pig because he was the runt of the litter. I was sure that our first book discussion was doomed to failure and that I had scarred my niece for life. When I called her that Sunday I asked if she was afraid of the story. “Oh no Auntie Debbie” she assured me “where do you think bacon comes from?” So much for her naiveté and youthful sensibilities!
Since then we’ve read Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls.
I’ve learned a lot about my niece from these book group meetings. Sure we discuss the story, but we also end up talking about our own lives — our troubles and triumphs.
It’s so satisfying that reading – something I’ve always enjoyed – has brought us together in this special way.
As Walt Disney once said, “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.”