I’m always pleasantly surprised when something in my present life tugs on threads from the past. My heart gets full when I see patterns and connections. There is something real in the patterns – something that’s random and wild, yet predictable. Those tugs feel like little moments of coming home again.
The other night, Little Man and I were talking about what he’s learning at school. He’s getting closer and closer to kindergarten and his preschool teachers are really doing a good job with readiness skills. One of the things they are doing is reading and talking about A LOT of books. [His teacher LOVES the library and talks about books and reading all the time ... heart is singing here!]!
Little Man is excited about the books they are reading – especially one. A chapter book about a little girl in kindergarten – one Miss Junie B. Jones. [Little kids are soooo cute when they say chapter book ... there's awe in every word. I love it!]
The mention of the Junie B. series made me all warm and fuzzy inside.Â See, about 15 years ago, I read the Junie B. series to my students and we all fell in love with her – and Barbara Park, the author. My students and I couldn’t get enough of her books. We bought out the book fair and emptied piggy banks when the Scholastic Book orders went around. It was a reading frenzy. I loved it. We loved it. It was a true reading community – amazing things happened.
About 10 years ago, I had the absolute privilege of meeting Barbara Park in person. She was doing an on-camera appearance in the studios where I worked. She was there to talk to students about reading and writing – her work.
Just before her visit to the studio, it was discovered that many of the folks in our little production group weren’t familiar with her books. So, I spent an hour a day reading them out loud in our cube area. By the time Ms. Park arrived, everyone knew Junie B. and loved her. [Yep, there's a pattern here. If you don't know these books, you should get to know them!]
After the shows, she sat and talked to a few of us about writing and teaching. I didn’t get much work done that day … in fact, maybe none.Â She was wonderful and gracious and delightful to talk to. [Grown-ups are sooo cute when they talk about meeting amazing authors who "get it" and are willing to talk about it ... there's awe in every word.]
It’s hard to believe that it’s been so long since I’ve spent time with Junie B. So, I was excited when Little Man brought her home. And, last night, some 15 years after first meeting Junie B., I passed on my collection of her stories to my Little Man. It was good.
Tonight, he and I read about Junie B., that Grace, Mrs., Lucille, and Meanie Jim. None of them have changed much in all this time. Junie B. is still her silly, honest, ornery old self. She hasn’t aged a bit … not one. And I love that.
Little Man can’t wait to read on! My old friend has captivated my son … I can’t wait to see what happens next!I'll be hoppin' along now ...