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The Power of a Good Book Talk

March 15, 2020

I lean around the doorframe to see if Anna is in her room.  She is, pulling down snowflakes from her bulletin board.

“How’re you doing?” I ask.  She wasn’t in the lunch room to process through the surprise early dismissal and school closing with the rest of us.

“Okay,” she says as she continues to rip off and throw away snowflakes.

I move into the room.  “Shall I help you?” I ask, as I reach up to pull out staples.

“If you don’t mind,” she says.  “I just don’t want to come back in April to snowflakes.”

In April sounds jarring, and makes the two weeks sound longer.

Maybe it will be longer.  Who knows.  Everything feels uncertain at the moment.

“Hey,” I say, struck with an idea.  “You were saying I should read Endling.  Can I borrow it?  Seems like I’ll have some extra time for reading….”

“Sure,” she says, moving from the now empty bulletin board to the row of books behind her desk.

“There was another book, too, you said I should read,” I added.  “I don’t remember what it was called.”

She hands me Endling and thinks for a moment.  “I think it was Song for a Whale, but a student is reading it now.”  She turns to her row of books.  “What about this one?  Have you read Ban This Book yet?”

When I say no, she gives me a book talk about why I must, and then pulls out two more books I need to read.

I look over her shoulder and notice The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamura.  “Have you read this one yet?” I tap it.  “I read it a couple of summers ago and really enjoyed it.”

Anna pulls it out and puts it next to her bag.

“What about this one?” I ask, pulling another one out for her.  My book talk for that makes me think of Lizzy Bright and the Buckminster Boy.  When she tells me she hasn’t read it, I run to the book closet across the hall, telling her, “You have to read it.  It’s so beautiful!” I can’t find it, but I pull out two other books that I know she’ll love.

There’s comfort in the familiarity of books, in the endings we know, the plot twists we can expect.  And there’s comfort in the camaraderie.  We may not know the next time we’ll teach next door, but we can read each others’ books.

When we finally say goodbye, our schoolbags are considerably heavier, but our hearts are lighter.


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  1. Books are a binding of friendship and familiarity. I love how it began with her book-talking but turned to your doing it. Enjoy your time!

  2. jumpofffindwings permalink

    All true, and you have some great reading ahead. Ban This Book and Lizzie Bright… will certainly help to lighten the heart and promote more talk—Be well.

  3. carwilc permalink

    What a great story of books as connectors! So glad you got this time together!

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