Friday, November 07, 2003

A Good Read

On Wednesday, I started leading a reading group for the sixth-grade book club at my daughter's school, even though my own personal daughter wouldn't touch a reading group with a 10-foot volume of "Harry Potter." The first book the kids are reading is "Because of Winn-Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo, and I thought I'd mention it here because, while it is in no way specifically about adoption, it does deal with a child who knows nothing about one of her birthparents, and feels a sense of loss and loneliness over that, and as such might lead to some interesting discussions for adoptive parents and kids. The story is told by India Opal Buloni, a preacher's daughter newly settled into a Florida trailer park and feeling a bit alone in the world. She doesn't remember her mama, who left when she was little, and her daddy tends to withdraw like a turtle into its shell when conversations involving difficult emotions threaten. What makes the difference for this family is not a good therapist, but a great dog -- one who knows how to smile, freaks out during thunderstorms, and has an uncanny way of bringing people who need people together. It's one of those "children's" novels, like "Sarah, Plain and Tall," that I know I'll pick up every year or so and read again, just because it tells so much truth so simply. If you've got a late-elementary or middle-school reader, check it out.

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