Friday, June 4, 2010

FICTION FRIDAY: PICTURE BOOK CHOICES AND FUTURE PERSONALITIES

Last night, at my critique group, the amazing Conrad Wesselhoeft whose first novel, ADIOS NIRVANAcomes out this fall  passed along his arc of Holly Cupala's TELL ME A SECRET.  Having loved the first few chapters, I can't wait to read the rest.  It's my "present to me" this weekend.  This will be especially fun because I've been spending a lot of time reading about superheroes to my four-year-old, "Batman."  No easy reader is too dull or simple for my son as long as it's got a guy wearing cape and little black bat ears (or a dude in Spandex with a big red "S" on his chest, or a buxom brunette with a golden lasso for that matter) on the cover. 

After we re-read these beloved books, we move directly to pretend mode. He is Batman. I am Bat Girl. His brothers become the Commissioner (his boss), Robin (his assistant) and the Joker (being cast as the Joker on a given day is kind of an insult). As Bat Girl, I am always on call to help him protect Gotham City. And there are frequent stops to read another book.

While I read (practically recite) these epic stories of beating back villains with superpowers and great gadgets, I recall with some nostalgia favorite books chosens by my other sons.  My eldest (runner, jazz saxaphonist, future engineer) loved the LITTLE BEAR books and would sit on my lap to have novels read to him from the time he was eighteen months old.  My second boy (lacrosse and football player and definitely future stand-up comedian) could not get enough of BIG JOE'S TRAILER TRUCK by Joseph Mathieu.  The third one down (actor, poet, skier and all-around gentle spirit) favored Donald Hall's elegant OX CART MAN (got him a signed copy for Christmas one year-was his favorite gift).

While it's not scientific or absolute, I see a sort of connection between these early reading favorites and the personalities of my kids.  The heroes they chose, the sense of order they appreciated, even the language and colors that appealed to them all foreshadowed, in some small way, the kind of readers and people into which they are evolving.  And so, as I sometimes rather unenthusiastically reread I AM BATMAN to my youngest, I watch his eyes take in the words and images and wonder what dream he is dreaming inside--what this story is inspiring him to become.

2 comments:

MollyMom103 said...

You have a really awesome critique group. M.

SWK said...

So agree, Molly. THANKS!!!