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Fathers’ Day

From NPR Weekend Edition, June 18, 2011:

When Alice Ozma was in the fourth grade, her family was going through a rough patch. Her parents had just split up, and her older sister had recently left for college. Ozma was suddenly spending a lot more time alone with her dad, Jim Brozina, an elementary school librarian. So Ozma and her father made a pledge: to read together every single night for 100 days.

But after 100 days, they just kept going. Their streak ultimately lasted 3,218 days — spanning from Ozma’s fourth-grade year to her first day of college. [...] Reading together was one thing they knew they could depend on. As Ozma got older, it got harder to keep it up, but the pair persisted — even on the night of Ozma’s prom.

From epic novels to fairy tales, books have a strange ability to bind two people together. You know that flash of excitement when you realize that a new acquaintance shares a favorite author or series? That giddy realization that you both “speak” the same language, that you have numerous topics of conversation? It’s a great feeling, that closeness. And in the case of Ozma and her father, they share not one book or one writer, but a whole library.

Ozma’s website, The Reading Promise, offers a starter book list to initiate your own “Reading Streak.” And I recommend the list in part because it features Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which I vividly remember reading with my own father when I was about seven or eight. In his edition, the picture of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come was deeply creepy, but I’ll always be glad that I first experienced that story with him. I also recognized quite a few other books on Ozma’s list: Maniac Magee from fifth grade language arts, Sherlock Holmes from middle school science (really!), and Macebth from sophomore English. Certain books can be indelibly linked to certain moments in life — and seeing them is like stumbling on a memory. And when that memory is shared with a loved one, all the better.

In sum, do check out the complete story on NPR and celebrate this week after Fathers’ Day with a quick read — with a parent, child, or friend. Also: learn more about Catalogue non-profits who are working to spread literacy to each and every family in our region. Let’s make sure that everyone has the chance to experience what Ozma and her father did.

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