My kids are avid readers. It is cool to behold. They read far more than I ever did, and I was no schlub in that department. Having tablets helps – when they finish a book, they immediately start on new ones. They share books and talk about books with each other, which further reinforces the literate environment in our home.
To my surprise and delight, H, my 10-year old, has also taken to discussing books with me. Often times after she finishes her homework and does a chunk of reading she emails me her thoughts while I am still at work. Her emails light me up as I ride the NJ Transit home … It’s a privilege witnessing her beautiful, expanding mind. How she approaches stories, problems and life in general with heart and intellect.
She recently read and was deeply moved by The Diary of Anne Frank, which prompted me to re-read it for the first time since high school. I was reminded of what a bright and spirited girl Anne was. Somehow in my memory she had shrunk into a little girl hiding in an attic. How wrong that impression was. Reading her diary I am reminded of my teenage journals. The highs, the lows…the kvetching about everyone.
H was so very upset and bewildered to learn what happened to Anne and millions of Jews during the Holocaust. We explained that yes, that all really happened and it wasn’t that long ago in the scheme of history. Had Anne lived, she’d be 87 today, which is just a few years older than H’s grandparents – a fact that really hits home. While H could not understand how the world could be so cruel, how people could be so inhumane, she did come to admire Anne and her Dad for bravely sharing her voice and making her story known to the world.