I haven’t given an update on the summer book series that I planned for my twin sons. I also read the books (or already have) so that I can schedule time for us to share our thoughts. I am delighted to give a positive update about how enjoyable the conversations have all been. Although they were reluctant initially the Twins have become more involved and dare I say eager to share their thoughts and discuss the books along with the major theme and/or topic of the book choice. We began with reading "Unlocking the Truth", our discussion emphasized thinking outside the box and not allowing people to contain you to their limits. We then read Sharon Draper’s "Tears of a Tiger" this particular discussion focused on friendship and suicide. I believe that prevention is in talking about suicide to ensure that your teens don’t feel so isolated that the option to reach out isn’t contemplated.
The next selection was "A Long way Gone" by Ishmael Beah this book was tough due to the hardship that is being currently experienced in the Sub-African countries. The twins appeared to be quite sad about Ishmael’s journey and the loss he suffered. I must say as I consider all the books we’ve read this book stirred the most emotion. Unlike the other book, with this one I observed them reading together, sometimes taking turns to read out loud. I highly recommend the book if anyone is looking for something to read. I needed to be sure they read my high school favorite, by S.E. Hinton “The Outsiders”. The discussion focused on classism and stereotypes. I wanted to be sure they had a healthy comprehension and able to articulate their own thoughts. One aspect I cherish most about reading is being able to think about what I read, considering what I know about the content and formulating my own thoughts/perspective/assessment. I've notice from our first conversations up until now how they actually take the time to process what they've read, think about the questions and share their thoughts. They actually began to present questions and using examples from their life to explain or associate their reasoning.
So yesterday (9/5/17) after an hour and a half of some impressive conversation, I asked one of my favorite questions, “What character impacted you most and how do you identify with them?” Darrin Lee answered first, “Well I liked Scout the most, because she didn’t allow others to tell her how to feel about people or how she should be, she was an individual. I like being a twin but I like being me more. We do things different but I like being my own person” Then John answered, “I liked Tom Robinson the best, because he was a good man that loved and protected his family. He believed in being fair and I like treating people right.” What’s funny is that their character truly reflect the way they answered. John has always been the more caring of the two and Darrin Lee is the twin that will correct you should you call him by the wrong name or say “twin”. He’s also the one that asked me at a young age to stop dressing them alike. J When I inquired about which book out of all the books we’ve read, which book you enjoyed reading the most, and they both said in unison “The Outsiders”. They both stated they liked the “action” and the relationship between Darry, Sodapop and Ponyboy.
The idea to add summer reading for the Twins went so well, I decided to continue. Our conversations alone allow me an opportunity to connect with them about their views and how they feel about various topics and social issues. It’s a joy watching my sons use critical thinking skills and expand their minds. I want them to consider others, be empathetic, accept differences and hold firm to their own values/beliefs. Books allow so many paths to be explored that I dare not place limits on their potential. It’s a blessing to have the opportunity to encourage my sons to do more than just read but pick up a book to be enriched. There’s a quote that says “We lose ourselves in books but we find ourselves there too”.
Our next book selection is “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio, not sure what lead me to pick it but variety is good. I’m open to suggestions should you, yes you being the reader, want to share book selections. Thanks in advance and I appreciate your contribution to helping me to continue to parent enthusiastically.