Monday, June 16, 2008

Miss Rumphius

My children and I read together quite a lot. I'm sure it's not the same for everyone, but I think I spend more time reading aloud than I spend making dinner.

My children have a tendency to ask for the same things over and over (Pippi, anyone?). Most of the time I go along with whatever they suggest.

But one day about a week ago, I didn't ask what they wanted. I just started in on Miss Rumphius. We had read it years ago -- Sass probably wasn't even a year old yet -- so neither of them remembered it. But this time, I think it may become one of the ones we read again and again.

As a young girl, Alice sits at her grandfather's knee in his seashore cottage and hears stories of his travels. Alice decides that's just what she wants -- to travel, then to live in a little house by the sea. Her grandfather agrees that these are wonderful aspirations, but he asks her to add one more -- find a way to make the world a more beautiful place.

For days afterward, the children and I talked about making the world more beautiful, about what exactly did "the world" mean. How far does "the world" reach? Does it have to be something physically beautiful, or can it mean beautiful thoughts or deeds? It sparked excellent discussions, and it helped them start to think of things from a much larger perspective.

I just picked up the book on a whim that day, never expecting that it would give rise to those kinds of discussions. But I'm glad it did.



Vanessa said...

Wonderful discussions that will be remembered for a long time. What a great way to get your kids to think, really ponder the world!

The Boyds Family said...

Sounds like a great book...I'll have to come to your work and see about getting that one :)

Dodi said...

I love that book! It's been a fav of ours for a long time.