We often talk about reading as something we share with children. Reading a book to a child is always a lovely moment. I’ve noticed that sometimes, as kids get older, usually five and up, they want to share reading with a parent, or even a stuffed animal. Can these kids read yet? Most likely, no, but that’s not the point. These kids have grasped the real power of books: they are for sharing. This weekend I was struck by several kids who wanted to share their books.
We have two stuffed dragon toys in the front of the store. We’ve had these for years, and usually kids talk to the dragons and make them fly around, but occasionally kids feel the need to set these dragons up with books. When this happens, I am always charmed. I don’t think the kids are carefully picking out the books, but rather choosing from nearby books that look good with the dragons. Whenever I’m tidying the front of the store and see the dragons set up to read, it just makes me smile. Kids want to share reading. Sometimes, if they have time, they will sit with a dragon and read a story, but more often than not, they want to make sure the dragons have easy access to books. I love how the dragon on the left appears to chatting with the one on the right about his book. I’m not sure which kids set this up, but I’ve left it like this. I think it’s important to let customers know that we welcome all kinds of readers at the Flying Pig.
Saturday, a boy who was turning six that day came in with his family. They were coming to let him pick out a special book for his birthday. Harry looked around earnestly as his father was also looking at books. After a few minutes of browsing Harry said, quite loudly to his father, “There are some Jack and Annie books you could read! I could read one to you.” There was something so sweet about this. Harry is a huge fan of the Magic Tree House series and he could see that his dad was having a hard time picking out a book. Harry explained Sunset of the Sabertooth to his dad who nodded and smiled, “I don’t know much about sabertooth tigers. Good choice.” They bought the book for Harry to read to his dad.
That’s what he got for his birthday, a book to share with his dad. As I wrapped the book we were all a little choked up. I gave Harry a sticker and ruffled his hair and thought to myself, what an extraordinary kid.