Books, books and books galore

After a chat on Twitter this summer, I was inspired  to write this post from an interaction I had with someone who was also participating in the chat. She (so sad I don’t remember which chat or who tweeted ) was interested to know why books were so important to me and I said I would one day write a post about that topic. So this is it.

A child born after the war, in Berlin, Germany, my first five years were spent in transit. From Berlin to Paris back to Germany and then to Israel. I arrived in Montreal at the age of five, multilingual, precocious and maybe the first Jewish Canadian Princess. But my world would soon take a horrible turn as my father became desperately ill. The next five years saw him in and out of hospitals struggling at a battle he lost when he was 42 and I was seven days shy of my tenth birthday. In those interim years, I learned English, ran away to school (yes you read that correctly) so that I could be with my friends. For early on I knew school would be a haven for me, an equalizer and I could be like everyone else. However, I had to wait a year until I was old enough to begin school. My parents and extended family tried to shelter and protect me from the realities of our life. We had many wonderful family gatherings and celebrations around our Jewish and Canadian holidays; as we learned to become Canadians. Even to this day I recall with fondness those early elementary school years. I was thrilled when I learned to read and spent so much time with my head in books. From the age of five to ten, in my neighborhood of immigrants, I did not stand out. We went to school, played outside, no TV no tech and no fancy toys. Only our imagination limited our adventures and we had plenty in supply! When I was around twelve we moved to a new neighborhood.  Although I quickly made friends in my new school, books continued to be a place of comfort if uncertainties overwhelmed me. When sad or depressed over the loss of my father I took comfort and solace from reading. My neighborhood and school libraries held treasure troves of wonder, adventures and companionship. Books taught me about geography, authors and their angst, about life and death, about my heritage and others. In my English Literature classes in high school I remembered reading the classics, so in love with Dostoyevsky,Tolstoy, Dickens, Victor Hugo, Hemingway, Stephen Crane, Jane Austen, Elizabeth Barrette Browning, Bronte and so many more. I knew questions could be answered in books, and if not, the very least, ways for me to find what I needed.

We bring to our teaching our baggage, our bent on life, some with regret and many not so bad. Empathy from life’s experiences allows an open heart to engage adult to child (for now addressing the teacher in me), so we can identify and address the needs and interests of our students. And thus, I fill my room with books; many books for teachers to read to the students. Because, my gut feeling tells me that although leveled books will teach my Kinders to read, I want the passion, the humor, the discovery to infuse them with the magic of books. A world that is often times beyond their control, books can hopefully provide them the solace they might need, as it did and does me.
I wonder how books have influenced your lives? How did they impact the you, that you are?
Two of our book areas.  The room is set up, books are in place, so let the reading begin.

Book bins in our Morning Meeting are.

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