Two authors visited school this week: Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson. Together they’ve written The Familiars, a story of three wizards’ familiars who must join together, find their strengths and rescue their wizards.
For first-time authors, their presentation was ok. It started strong, but as soon as they ask for students to “shout out” ideas, I began to pace and grimace. The presentation, though, is not my point. My eight year old, Joshua, was in attendance with his third grade class. I asked him the night before if he wanted a copy of the book. He responded with something vague about it being too much for him this year, maybe he could read it in fourth grade, or sure mom, if you want to.
So of course, as the mother who reads constantly, I bought this book for my son who doesn’t find reading to be a pleasure. Joshua is a non-fiction, get to the facts ma’am kind of guy. He reads about fishing, sunken boats, kid encyclopedias of various subjects, snake books, dinosaur books and the like.
So with The Familiars in hand, Joshua got it signed by the authors and promptly used the book as his share (it happened to be his share day in class). Then when I arrived home that night, I found he had used the book jacket as a bookmark (as he’s seen me do again and again) and was on page 20. I welled up a bit to see his bookmark choice. Every time he sees one of my books like this, we have the same conversation about book jackets, bookmarks and the uses/types/purposes of both. He never tires of discussing it.
The next day, when I called to check in with the family before leaving work, Jeff reported that Joshua fell asleep reading The Familiars and the book was on his stomach as he quietly snoozed on the couch. I almost cried. Falling asleep to a good book is delicious.
When I got home, I asked him how the book was. Good. Would you read a bit to me? Maybe later. Then (without thinking?) he held his book, stroked the cover and chatted with me about his day. Lovely. I know these exact mannerisms in myself.