Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Power of Reading

We’d like to briefly navigate away from our regularly scheduled reviews and memes to introduce the first in a one part series entitled: The Power of Reading. It’s a bit long but we promise there’s a point...

Earlier last week we made the decision to embark on a momentous journey through the Chronicles of Narnia with our 6 year old son (featured HERE in this Vlog). After a lively debate over reading the books chronologically or by publication date, we decided to start with The Magician’s Nephew. We dove right in. Following the conclusion of chapter 3 the jury was still out, but then we arrived at the part in Charn where Digory reads the message above the bell.

Suddenly, the room got quiet and the many questions that always accompany a nighttime read with any of our children ceased. We could literally feel his body tense as he waited for Digory to make his crucial decision. The chapter ends quite abruptly after the fateful strike of the hammer as did the reading session. Not surprising, our child was curious to know what to expect next. We may or may not have let slip that an evil queen would be making an appearance.

Fifteen minutes or so passed while we finished our nighttime routine when suddenly a bold proclamation was made from beneath a large pile of stuffed animals. “I don’t really want to ready Narnia anymore.”

Our blood froze. Our teeth gnashed. We knew we should have done more with Uncle Andrew’s voice. Would our son never appreciate the classics?

“My brain is going to be too scared of the queen.”

First, a little background. Our son doesn’t get scared (for the most part)... he’s watched all the Star Wars movies, including when little Anakin gets burnt to a crisp, and the Pirate’s of the Caribbean where an entire crew of skeletons attacks the British navy. And yet, on this occasion our son was scared of a slightly oversized queen with a destructive temper.

Suddenly we were filled with joy! Not because C.S. Lewis managed to scare the heebie-jeebies out of our son, but because books can do that. We’ve always said that the scariest villains are in books! With all the special effects in Hollywood and video games, the printed word can still do that to kids. Whether it’s laughing, crying, throwing things, screaming, swooning, or feeling happy - reading has so much power. That’s why we love to read!

To add a happy ending to this lengthy story, we promised our child one of two things. A.) we’d let him fast forward through any of the scary parts or B) read the queen in a silly voice. After a moment of thought he picked option B. We can only hope that Mr. Lewis will accept our sincerest of apologies...

If you’re still with us, we’d love to hear what book first spoke to you.


  1. My mother read to me when I was a child going to bed. I remember the Chronicles of Narnia being high up on the list of things that blew my little mind but there were others; namely Grimm's Fairy Tales.
    I will never forget reading Corrie Tenboom's story as a child. I was scared the whole time becuase I knew it was more than make-believe.
    Great post! Now I'm going down memory lane :)

  2. I read Narnia with my girls when they were young and they still love it. But we started with The Lion, the Witch, the Wardrobe the book that C.S. Lewis wrote first and intended to introduce us to Narnia. Either way, glad you are having a "magical" experience.

  3. This is such a nice read. I totally understand what you mean about books! I'm glad your kids are learning about the magic of books! :)

  4. I am trying to introduce my son to the magic of books too. I look forward to reading the Chronicles of Narnia with him when he's older.

    “My brain is going to be too scared of the queen.”
    LOL now that made me smile.

  5. I think starting with The Magician's Nephew was a great decision.

    The first book that spoke to me was a pop up book of a haunted house. (That probably explains a lot right there.) Anyhow, at the end of the pop up book, there was a guy "behind the curtain" making it all happen. I still remember the feeling I had experiencing my first "twist ending". :D

  6. Narnia was the beginning of my book obsession, so it will always have a huge place in my heart. I'm one of those who is faithful to the publication date order of the books, and it was very unsettling to me when they mixed them all up!! So far none of my kids has had quite the love of Narnia that I had, but Harry Potter is some stiff competition.

  7. I love this! Such an encouragement for a new book-loving parent. I remember a set of books with nursery rhymes and fairy tales that I would spend hours perusing. Books are treasures and leave such lasting memories because of the power of words.

  8. Isn't it great to know that books can still have an impact on kids, even when competing with movies, video games & other techno media? Very sweet photo--that would make a great header (no pressure) ;)

  9. What a precious story!

    I don't have a specific memory of one book or one event... all I remember is that I always read. When I started a new school I'd always scope out the library first...

  10. I read The Secret Garden before bed every night when i was about 11. I would dream myself into the story and always wake up frustrated when I got the part where i had stopped reading and not be able to go on in the story in the dream ha!