Magical Doors

Books Are Magical Doors
Books Are Magical Doors

I imagine you enjoy a good book. Maybe you even love them. In our high-tech world (and I’m not knocking technology … I’m just sayin’) we have other ways of grabbing tales. Playing online games can be a way of tossing yourself into a snippet of a tale. Engaging in the flurry of text messages and social media posts is another way (“what’s alive now in my friend’s life?”). We grab one another’s tales in the snowstorm of media.

I used to be a voracious book reader. Family vacations saw me packing a stack of library books to read during the hundreds of miles in the car (I did look up now and then to enjoy the strange, new territories!). These days, while I read a fair amount, it is by way of a book app more often than not. I think that’s ok, but I do love the feel (as folks often say) of a book lying open in my hands.

In any case, by book or book app, I still read children’s books. And I still read to my daughter (a teen now), every night at bedtime. We (and her older sister) have journeyed through hundreds of tales over the years, hundreds of magical doorways together. And in doing so, we’ve shared a landscape woven of some very diverse territories, from times past and into futures present. We share a magical world of imagination.

One of the surest ways to share magic with kids is to read aloud to them. I’m sure you know that and do that already! There are many good reasons to do so: inspiring literacy and a joy to read, creating and nourishing connection. I just want to add my fairy coin to the mix. When you read to your child, you weave a world together. With the books you both really enjoy, you touch into Soul–yours and your child’s.

Notice what your child loves to talk about regarding a story you’ve read. As in relaying any story, your child is revealing her soul–what brings her alive, where her special qualities may lie. The same is true for you. Story, sourced as it is from dreams (so to speak) can reflect like a mirror on a person’s deep nature. When your child (or you) puzzles over a conversation between characters, or recalls a particular incident in the story, he is revealing himself in the noticing. His yearnings, his hopes, or aspects of his own character.

Try this: Next time you read to your child, ask what really struck her in the story. What scene really stands out for her? What did she enjoy most? Or least? Or …? [fill in the blank with a question or two of your own]. Sometimes a child will feel like talking about the story right then, and sometimes not. Sometimes it’s better to wait until a later time to ask questions.

And ask the questions of yourself. What scene is most alive for you in the story? What upset you most? What touched you? Did any event or conversation or image open your heart, make it feel as if it was viewing something absolutely true for you?

Great treasures lie in stories, treasures for the soul. The stories are magical doors to those treasures. And books are lovely physical doors, with bindings you can open, and maybe some illustrations.

Read aloud to your child. Read aloud to him for as many years as you can.

What books have you enjoyed reading to your children? What books did you enjoy that were read to you–when you were a child, or perhaps even as a grownup? Please share your favorites here!

Reading Is Magic - photo art by Gwynne Valencia
Reading Is Magic – photo art by Gwynne Valencia. I’ve just finished reading aloud the Harry Potter books to Gwynne for at least the eighth time!