For the past four years we have hosted a reading for the children who participated in our local PBS Go! Kids Writing Contest. This year we had about 15 kids come to the bookstore and fill our event space with proud families. This is one of my favorite events of the year.
Picture 15 eager, nervous young writers, who now must be readers, on a beautiful Saturday morning. They streamed in. Girls in fancy dresses, boys in shorts, and in one case mis-matched socks. Ranging in age from first grade to third, they read their stories out loud to a room full of adults. Pretty terrifying stuff, if you ask me. They were great. Some spoke sofastyoucouldbarelyunderstand them and one boy practically forgot to breathe. One second grade girl had written a remarkably beautiful story about a race horse and a Morgan horse becoming friends, which was surprisingly poignant. There were lots of pictures in these stories and every illustration was shown to the audience in a slow arc around the room.
The stories covered a huge range, from a non-fiction animal guide to cows in space. One young boy announced before he read his story, “This is dedicated to my brother Jeff.” They were both beaming with pride. One child had seven, count ’em, seven family members there in support. For an hour not one younger sibling interrupted the proceedings. One boy got a massive case of stage fright, so his sister volunteered to read his story for him.
This was families at their best celebrating literacy and I was thrilled to be part of it.